Diageo gets Norwegian alcohol ban over Smirnoff Ice push

LONDON - Diageo has been banned from importing or selling any alcohol in Norway for six months, after breaking Norway's strict alcohol promotion laws in its marketing for Smirnoff Ice.

Although drinks manufacturers are allowed to market to the trade in Norway, they are not allowed to promote their products to consumers. The country's Social and Health Directorate ruled that certain trade events for the ready-to-drink vodka mix crossed into the public arena. Diageo described the ban as a "very strict reaction".

The ban, which starts on August 12 and is understood to be the first of its kind, is expected to have an impact on Diageo's global trading profit of £500,000 to £1.5m.

Its enforcement will come as a shock to drinks firms across Europe, as governments clamp down on the promotion of alcohol. Although Norway is not a member of the EU, some EU-member states, such as Sweden, ban virtually all ads outside of spirits trade magazines. The World Health Organisation has also lobbied for a ban on alcohol ads.

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