The Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice has judged that advertisers should not imply that an alcoholic drink could be a source of nourishment or can be drunk as part of an exercise, fitness or weight-control regime.
The guidelines also rule that if an alcohol brand name implies a dietary or health claim, ads for that product must make it clear that it is not suitable for dietary purposes.
The ruling could see an end to ads such as last year's spot for Michelob Ultra. The commercial by DDB showed a range of activities, including running and dancing, before cutting to a couple drinking beer in a bar. A voiceover said: "If this is what your life is about, this is your beer."
The ad escaped a ban at the time despite 22 viewer complaints saying the spot implied you need beer for a healthy lifestyle.
Andrew Brown, BCAP's chairman, said: "The new rule will allow advertisers to give consumers the factual information they need to make informed choices, but stop them implying that alcoholic drinks have health, fitness or nutritional benefits."
Last year, BCAP launched a consultation on the introduction of the rule, alongside its consultation on the guidance notes helping advertisers interpret the 2004 TV Alcohol Advertising Rules.
Comment, page 40.