Insights Alcohol alternatives: UK Advertising Standards Authority (“ASA”) issues new rules and guidance


Following a consultation in 2022, the Committee of Advertising Practice (“CAP”) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (“BCAP”) have announced new rules on alcohol-alternative product advertising together with guidance to help advertisers understand where the ASA is likely to draw the line in judging whether the advertising rules have been broken. Although such products are non-alcoholic, the ASA points out that their advertising often uses imagery redolent of alcohol and mentions drinking occasions.

The new rules will appear in Section 18 of the CAP Code and Section 19 of the BCAP Code and relate to the promotion of beverages with an ABV at or below 0.5% which are marketed as alternatives to alcoholic drinks. They cover definitions, presentation of ABV statements, responsibility, and targeting and scheduling restrictions. As many of the rules depend on the content of an ad and the context in which it appears, they are accompanied by formal guidance that explains how the rules should be interpreted and applied, including examples of approaches that would not be acceptable.

The Code rules and guidance will take effect on 14 May 2024, following a six-month grace period to allow advertisers to make necessary changes to their campaigns.

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