Panimoliitto

Stricter advertising legislation is introduced in spite of effective self-regulation

Lehdistötiedote   •   Helmi 05, 2014 15:32 EET

During 2013, the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry’s preliminary inspection committee inspected 74 scripts or completed advertisements for alcoholic beverages. The committee inspected 31 television commercials or break bumpers, 35 outdoor advertisements, and 8 scripts. Five television commercials, two outdoor advertisements and one script were rejected.

The recession is clearly evident in the number of advertisements reviewed by the preliminary inspection committee. The number of television advertisements inspected was less than half than in 2012, when 67 were reviewed. Four fewer scripts were inspected. The figure for outdoor advertisements is not comparable, as commercial outdoor ads became subject to preliminary inspection in October 2012.

“Preliminary inspection is effective and has become a permanent aspect of self-regulation. In spite of this, legislation on advertising will become significantly stricter. Government regulation should only be imposed if the industry’s own self-regulation does not work. Smart advertising supports the development of a responsible drinking culture,” says Elina Ussa, Managing Director of the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry.

The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry’s preliminary inspection committee started up in September 2011. Preliminary inspection forms part of the Federation’s guidelines on responsible marketing communications for alcoholic beverages. All member companies of the Federation must submit their television and outdoor advertisements to the preliminary inspection committee. Only those advertisements that are approved by the committee can be shown.

Foreign advertising is not subject to the same supervision as domestic brands

The entry of the new act into force in early 2015 will further limit domestic brewing companies’ opportunities to advertise their products. Alcohol advertisements will be subject to additional restrictions – outdoor advertising will be prohibited and no alcohol advertisements can be broadcast on TV and radio from 7 am to 10 pm. In addition, alcohol advertising based on games, lotteries or competitions or content produced or distributed by consumers will be prohibited.

“This will drastically curtail the opportunities of domestic brewers to advertise their products. However, advertisements of foreign brands on the Internet and cable TV channels are not controlled. This significantly distorts competition and will lead players to use pricing to advertise their products,” says Ussa.

The government’s proposal on changes to alcohol advertising states that it is neither possible nor necessary to monitor all alcohol advertisements produced abroad. According to the proposal, the current ban on the advertising of strong alcoholic drinks clearly demonstrates the effectiveness of national regulations, as one has to go online to see such drinks advertised.

“This type of legislation is outdated. People are spending more and more time online, and it’s not difficult to come across such advertisements. There are even Estonian websites written in Finnish that market spirits to booze cruisers. Foreign brands will continue to have an advertising presence on the Internet, but Finnish brands will have limited opportunities to advertise,” says Ussa.

The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry’s preliminary inspection committee

Chair Marja-Leena Mansala, Master of Laws trained on the bench, IPR University Center (formerly the intellectual property institute)
Lauri Sipilä, M.Sc. (Econ.), CEO, The Finnish Marketing Association (MARK)
Tuula Sario, LL.M, Lawyer-in-Chief, The Consumers’ Association of Finland
Partner Mika Raulas, Lic. (Econ.), ICMI - Intelligent Customer Management International Oy
Jussi Karttunen, Market Court Judge, Finnish Market Court

The preliminary inspection committee is an independent group whose members have expertise in a range of fields, such as marketing, advertising and law. None of its members may have connections to the Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry or its member companies.

Additional information:
Managing Director Elina Ussa, tel. +358 (0)45 269 7711
Communications Manager Outi Heikkinen, tel. +358 (0)50 370 8677

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The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry promotes the interests of producers of beer, cider, long drinks, soft drinks and mineral waters in Finland. Its members are Oy Hartwall Ab, Mallaskosken panimo, Nokian Panimo Oy, Olvi Oyj, Saimaan Juomatehdas, and Oy Sinebrychoff Ab. The Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry operates in connection with the Finnish Food and Drink Industries Federation and represents Finland’s fourth largest industry in the food and drink branch in terms of the value of production.