Ofcom’s consultation over its proposals for drinks advertising on TV ends on Friday (September 24) but suppliers will have to wait a further six weeks to discover whether the final rules will be watered down.
Under the current proposals 86% of existing ads would be banned in what the industry is calling a broadbrush attack.
Ofcom’s review comes as the government seeks to place some of the blame for binge drinking and alcohol-related disorder on the industry. “Advertising still tries to make alcohol sexy - drink it and you are more likely to be liked by friends, appear gorgeous and have a better chance of copping off with someone,” said Chris Bryant, Labour MP and member of the culture, media and sport select committee.
“The reason it needs regulation is that competition leads to social dis-benefits. Ofcom and government have to address this, otherwise the drinks industry will have difficulty in maintaining the confidence of the country.”
But Andrew Brown, director general of the Advertising Association, hit back. “Brand owners are being penalised for what it going on in the high street,” he said.
Jean Coussins, chief executive of The Portman Group, believes industry’s responsibility messages need to be reinforced by harder hitting government communication.
“Government needs to learn from the Think campaign for drink- driving.
“And it needs to look at the timescale for change - next generation, not next general election.”
>>P37 Industry under siege