European Alcohol Brands Take Responsible Social Marketing Pledge


The European Forum for Responsible Drinking — whose members include Bacardi, Diageo and Pernod Ricard — this week launched a new campaign promoting responsible practices for marketing alcoholic beverages. 

Targeted to alcohol brand marketers and agencies, the campaign is the result of a joint initiative last year by the EFRD and America’s Distilled Spirits Council to offer self-regulatory guidelines for advertising alcohol ads on social media sites.

The new guidelines include Facebook-specific strictures: a commitment to remove inappropriate user-generated content from brand pages in 48 hours of posting; restrict Facebook users under 18 from accessing alcohol brand pages.

Both Diageo and Heineken inked ad deals with Facebook last year; now, they can consult the EU voluntary guidelines, such “your marketing communication should be decent, honest, truthful; should not offend prevailing standards of taste, decency and more generally prepared with a due sense of responsibility.”

The guidelines contain the following series of questions marketers should ask themselves before launching a social campaign, including:[more]

1. Would you feel comfortable describing the marketing communications activity to parents at your sons’/daughters’ school or in a town hall meeting?

2. Would you feel at ease to stand up in a law court and defend your marketing communications activity as legal, decent, truthful and honest? 

8. If this scene in your marketing communications activity were real, would the person featured be at risk of harming him or herself or others? Would you feel comfortable defending it as ‘safe’ at a later stage if someone had an accident (whether fatal or not) as a result of copying the action portrayed?

 “If you have developed digital media communication tools for your client (brand website, apps, Facebook page, Twitter feed, etc….) you must comply with specific rules in particular”:

12. Have you asked consumers to affirm their age when interacting directly with you through any digital media communications?

14. If you have created download content, have you inserted an instruction that such content should not be forward to people below 18 years old?

17. Have you made sure that where practical, all the communication tools you have created are accompanied by a responsible drinking message, preferably in the form of a consumer information website (eg:

18. Have you followed your organization’s internal compliance procedure? Have you reviewed this diagnostic with your marketing department? In case of doubt, did you go for copy advice with your National Self-Regulating Organization (SRO) for advertising standards? Check the EASA website to find your appropriate contact.

Below, watch the related videos and tell us in the comments: Do these new EU guidelines for social marketing of alcoholic beverages go far enough — or too far?

What is Responsible Digital Alcohol Marketing Communication?

How to Design Responsible Alcohol Marketing Communication