New alcohol marketing rules introduced

LONDON - New alcohol marketing rules have been introduced by the Portman Group, the largest financial backer of charity The Drinkaware Trust.

The Portman Group, whose member companies include Bacardi-Martini, Carlsberg UK, Diageo, Pernod Ricard UK and Scottish & Newcastle, has ruled in its latest code of practice that alcohol branding must not appear on children's replica sports shirts, under sponsorship agreements signed after 1 January 2008.

The second new rule prevents TV show producers using their marketing to urge consumers to drink rapidly or to down their drinks.

The changes appear in the fourth edition of the Portman Group's Code of Practice on the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks. The code covers a drink's name and packaging, press releases, websites, sponsorship, sampling, branded merchandise, advertorials and all other promotional material. It does not however apply to alcohol advertising, which is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The new rules were announced last summer, giving companies six months to adjust their marketing accordingly.

Commenting on the decision to remove branding from children's replica sports shirts, David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, said it was right to close the door on this "unintended consequence" of sports sponsorship.

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