The commitment, binding on all alcohol manufacturers, suppliers and retailers, is contained in the Marketing Code and was launched by the industry in Johannesburg last week. It will be enforced by the Advertising Regulatory Board.
"Alcohol advertising on radio and TV is limited to between 19:00 to 06:00 during weekdays. On Saturdays and Sundays, alcohol adverts can only be broadcast between 12:00 and 06:00," says Sibani Mngadi, corporate affairs director at Diageo South Africa.
Mngadi says that, to limit exposure to children, advertising of alcohol will only be placed on media channels and programmes where at least 70% of the audience is 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," adds 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 mislead 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 and social success or acceptance, nor should it portray negatively on the refusal to consume an alcoholic beverage," says Mngadi.
According to the industry, general sports sponsorships by alcohol brands are acceptable, so long as there is no suggestion that alcohol consumption contributes to athletic success. "While the use of sportspeople or celebrities in adverts is allowed, those prominent people may not be portrayed consuming alcohol in the advert itself," Mngadi adds.
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," concludes Mngadi.
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