DURBAN - The alcohol industry in South Africa has committed to restricting its advertising times on TV and radio and not place billboard advertising within immediate proximity of schools.
The restriction is an effort to limit exposure to children and promote responsible alcohol advertising,
The commitment, binding on all alcohol manufacturers, suppliers and retailers, is contained in the Marketing Code, launched by the industry in Johannesburg last week and will be enforced by the Advertising Regulatory Board.
"Alcohol advertising on radio and TV is limited to between 7pm to 6am during weekdays. On Saturdays and Sundays, alcohol adverts can only be broadcast between 12h00 and 06h00," said Sibani Mngadi, Corporate Affairs Director at Diageo South Africa. Diageo is a leading spirits company owning world-renowned brands like Johnnie Walker, Smirnoff and Tanqueray.
To limit exposure to children, advertising will only be placed on media channels and programmes where at least 70 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be of legal drinking age; 18 years and above.
"For billboards in particular, we have decided that these should not be within a 500m radius of a school. Digital platforms containing alcohol advertising should also have age verification mechanisms," said Mngadi.
In addition to limiting placement, the Code also seeks to regulate the content to make sure that advertisements do not appeal to the underage population, nor misleading to the general audience.
"Actors in our adverts must not appear to be younger than 25 years of age. The content of the advertisement may not imply that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is essential to economic/social success or acceptance, nor should it portray negatively on the refusal to consume an alcoholic beverage," said Mngadi.
General sports sponsorships by alcohol brands are acceptable so long as there is no suggestion that alcohol consumption contributes to athletic success.
According to Mngadi, While the use of sports people or celebrities in adverts is allowed, those prominent people may not be portrayed consuming alcohol in the advert itself.
The industry marketing codes are equally applicable to zero or zero alcohol products. "Alcohol free products are an offering to promote responsible consumption for adults who may not want to take alcohol for various reasons including designated drivers. Such products cannot be promoted amongst people below the legal drinking age of 18 years," concluded Mngadi.