Advertising for alcohol: be devilishly careful!
What better way to promote a product than the launch of a red fruit beer, named "She-Devil", during the World Cup?
BeerCo, a Belgian company active on the beer and lemonade market, decides to develop a new beer and to launch it during the 2018 World Cup. BeerCo decides to set up stands next to several big screens that will show the football matches of the Belgian team, where free samples of She-Devil will be distributed to the supporters, while also selling several other drinks of its own brand. In order to present all this in an attractive way, BeerCo decides to stack a mix of cans of She-Devils and other beverages in the shape of a gigantic football next to each stand.
However attractive the strategy of BeerCo may be, the company should be very careful and not slide into the red ...
Although there is no doubt that the strategy of BeerCo will appeal to all supporters, it is however not completely in accordance with the rules and will somewhat have to be revised.
First of all, it is forbidden to offer alcoholic drinks for free in public places. BeerCo would consequently infringe this rule by offering free samples of the She-Devil on the street.
Moreover, in order to install these stands, BeerCo will have to make sure that it has obtained all required approvals beforehand. These consist for example in obtaining a permit for ambulant activities (which can be obtained at a business counter, and which is valid throughout Belgium), a permit from each concerned local authority, or a permit to sell alcoholic drinks.
Furthermore, all alcoholic beverages must be clearly brought into the market as such in order to prevent any confusion with lemonades, if possible by a physical separation. We therefore advise BeerCo to replace the gigantic football with a mix of alcoholic beverages and lemonades by, for example, two balls, one with cans of lemonade and one with cans of She-Devil, and to clearly indicate which ball contains lemonade and which ball contains alcoholic beverages.
Finally, BeerCo is advised to mention the following health slogan at each stand: "Beer brewed with love, should be drunk with reason" "Bier met liefde gebrouwen, drink je met verstand" / "Une bière brassée avec savoir se déguste avec sagesse" / "Bier, zünftig gebraut, vernünftig getrunken".
All these rules are laid down in the Convention on Advertising and Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages that, although it is a self-regulating code, has been ratified by most of the organisations implicated in the production, advertising and distribution of beer.
Beware: BeerCo might have to revise its strategy before the next World Cup...
The Superior Health Council has indeed published very recently an advice on the Risks linked to alcohol consumption, in which it recommends a complete ban on advertising and sponsoring with respect to alcohol.
GO RED DEVILS
GaranceDekeyserAttorney at law Associate
Garance Dekeyser is a member of the Litigation & Risk Management Practice Group in Belgium and an associate in our Brussels office. She is also a member of the Benelux Food and Beverages Team and of the Data Protection & Privacy Team.T: +32 2 743 43 53 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
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