The Portman Group sets out new standards, seeking to prevent offensive marketing

By Rachel Arthur contact

- Last updated on GMT

Pic:getty/petrenkod
Pic:getty/petrenkod

Related tags: Alcohol, Marketing

The Portman Group, the UK’s alcohol marketing watchdog, has updated its code for naming, packaging and promoting alcoholic drinks, seeking to strike ‘the right balance between protection and creative freedom’.

The Code of Practice on Naming Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic drinks was introduced in 1996, and the Portman Group is now releasing the sixth edition of the code​ after a 10 week consultation.

The Portman Group was founded to promote responsible alcohol standards and is funded by eight alcohol industry members including AB InBev, Carlsberg, Heineken and Molson Coors.

The key changes to the code are:

  • A drink’s name, packaging and any promotional material or activity should not cause serious or widespread offence. Producers need to be careful when referencing race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability and age on packaging or promotional material.
  • Protection of the vulnerable has been explicitly added as an overarching principle.
  • Single-serve, non-resealable containers shouldn’t contain more than four alcohol units (this follows the change in Chief Medical Officer drinking guidelines from daily to weekly guidance). 
  • A product should not suggest any association with illegal behaviour (the code already prohibits association with bravado or violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behavior​.
  • A product should not claim to have mind-altering qualities or suggest that it will change mood or behaviour (the code already prevents any suggestion that a product has therapeutic qualities or can enhance mental or physical capabilities.)

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