Between the Lines: Alcohol brands move online

Baileys (this page) is the latest alcohol brand to turn to the internet in the battle to reach consumers. Its decision to go online is predictable, given the increasing regulation of alcohol advertising on TV.

Diageo is a strong supporter of digital marketing - Smirnoff used an online campaign to launch its Norsk vodka and Johnnie Walker is also seeking an agency for its global digital account. And as the rules governing TV ads get stricter, more alcohol companies will view the internet as the best way to target their audience.

But this loophole may not last forever - US commentators have expressed concerns about online's ability to blur the lines between marketing and entertainment and are calling for more regulation of alcohol advertising on the web.

On this side of the Atlantic, the Government is opposing the European Commission's Television Without Frontiers directive amid fears it could lead to regulation of internet content. If it is unsuccessful, alcohol companies will have to move quickly to take advantage of the opportunities the internet offers.