Drink brands 'must act' to avoid ad clampdown

LONDON - Drinks brands have been warned to get their house in order or face a blanket ban on ads, following calls from influential MPs to overhaul the way alcohol is promoted in the UK.

Brands are under pressure to combat binge-drinking
Brands are under pressure to combat binge-drinking

Speaking exclusively to Marketing, Liberal Democrat MP Sandra Gidley, who helped collate the Health Select Committee's report on alcohol policy, warned that the £800m-a-year drinks marketing industry could be hit hard unless brands act to combat binge-drinking.

The government is not yet considering a total ban on alcohol advertising, but the report recommends a series of strictures, including a 9pm watershed for TV ads and mandatory on-pack health warnings.

The report claims self-regulation is failing, highlighting digital advertising and sponsorship as problem areas.
However, Gidley warned that policy-makers may ban all alcohol ads to offset criticism from health campaigners.
Industry body the Portman Group is also concerned.

‘Regulators and government must continue to take an evidence-based approach,' said its chief executive, David Poley. ‘Responsible advertising has, at most, a marginal impact on consumption and harm.'

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