Calls to ban alcohol ads and sponsorship in the UK as part of a bid to cut binge drinking 'should play no part in a free society', according to the advertising industry.
Banning ads for alcohol could be counter-productive, ISBA warns
Advertisers’ group ISBA slammed the proposed ban – put forward last week by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) – describing it as ‘misguided’ and arguing that it could even make the situation worse.
‘While we welcome sensible discussion on the serious issue of tackling binge drink culture, slapping a ban on alcohol ads is a lazy and naive reaction that will sadly not stop alcohol abuse, nor prevent underage drinking,’ said Ian Twinn, director of public affairs at ISBA.
‘In fact, this latest clarion call threatens to undermine the considerable progress that the private and public sectors have already made with the Responsibility Deal, and ignores the fact that alcohol consumption amongst the young has actually halved since the start of the century.
‘Ultimately, the AHA’s proposals should play no part in a free society.’
ISBA also pointed out that CAP and BCAP rules already ban alcohol ads during television programmes when there is a likelihood of a high proportion of children watching.
Meanwhile, HMRC figures suggest that there has been a sustained decline in alcohol consumption in the UK over the past eight years.
According to analysis by the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA), per capita consumption fell below eight litres in 2012 – a fall of 3.3% on 2011 and down 16% since 2004.
The figures were revealed as newspaper reports suggested that Prime Minister David Cameron might scrap plans for minimum unit pricing on alcohol because of Cabinet pressure.
‘Rather than looking at the same old restrictions on price, availability and marketing, the Government should look at locally-targeted solutions, better education and enforcement of existing measures that have been shown to work,’ said Miles Beale, chief executive of the Wine and Spirit Trade Association (WSTA).
Written by Richard Woodard