A new global resource has been published by the ICC Commission on Marketing and Advertising to help strengthen self-regulation for marketing alcohol. By clarifying how existing global principles should be applied in practice, the ICC Framework for Responsible Marketing Communications of Alcohol offers companies and advertising self-regulatory bodies a guide for bolstering responsible practice across markets. It will also serve as the basis for developing self-regulatory rules for marketing alcohol where these do not exist.
The ICC framework was developed by the body of global experts responsible for developing and updating the Consolidated ICC Code of Advertising and Marketing Communications Practice, which serves as the gold standard for most national and industry-wide self-regulation.
“The framework takes principles, such as social responsibility, and spells out what it means when developing or assessing an alcohol marketing communication,” said Oliver Gray, executive director of the European Advertising Standards Alliance and co-chair of ICC’s Code Revision Task Force, which drafted the framework.
“So whether you are marketing beer in Japan, wine in Argentina or spirits in the U.S., promoting your product as a means for social success, performance in sport or attractiveness to the opposite sex is not an acceptable practice,” he said. “And for self-regulatory organizations reviewing advertisements to enforce those principles, this extra clarity will be invaluable.”
According to Jonathan Huneke, USCIB’s vice president for communications and public affairs, who staffs USCIB’s Marketing and Advertising Committee, the drafters worked in close consultation with the alcohol industry, including in the United States. “We wanted to make sure that the framework could help companies meet their commitments to strengthening self-regulation, but without disrupting existing codes.”
“We have been strongly supportive of this effort,” said Brett Bivans, senior vice president of the International Center for Alcohol Policies. “This is a significant step in strengthening and clarifying high standards of responsible marketing, and we will work closely with ICC and other partners as the framework is implemented.”
ICC has served as the authoritative rule-setter for international advertising since the 1930s, when the first ICC code on advertising practice was issued. Since then, it has updated and expanded the ICC self-regulatory framework where needed to assist companies in marketing their products responsibly and to help self-regulators apply the rules consistently.
Staff contacts: Jonathan Huneke