Commercial CommunicationsMonitoring committees
One of the areas where brewers have spotted an opportunity to collaboratively build upon the 7 Operational Standards is through the establishment of committees early in the process that can identify, judge and advise on the acceptability of beer advertisements before consumer complaints are received and even before the advertisements appear in public.
In Finland for example, a Preliminary Inspection Committee was set up to review all TV and outdoor advertisements for alcoholic beverages by members of the Finnish Federation of the Brewing and Soft Drinks Industry before their public broadcast, either in the scripting stage or upon their completion. Such advertisements have to comply not only with legislation and official guidelines, but also with the brewing sector’s self-regulatory guidelines. The Committee, an independent group whose members have expertise in a range of fields, such as marketing, advertising and law, inspects scripts or completed advertisements for alcoholic beverages. Outdoor advertisements also became subject to inspection in October 2012. The decisions of the Preliminary Inspection Committee are binding, and violations are subject to sanctions. On 26th March 2015, a press release was issued in that regard.
The Slovak Beer and Malt association’s 2015 amended version of their Ethical Code on Commercial Communications also included the establishment of a so-called “Ethics Committee”, chaired by an independent specialist, to review the marketing and other communications of the Code signatories.
Whilst in Portugal APCV’s brewers’ code of self-regulation for all commercial communications was updated in 2015 and included a new compliance mechanism involving the third-party ICAP (The Civil Institute for Self-Regulation of Commercial Communication, the competent national SRO).
In Poland, since 2011 every beer advertisement is monitored to make sure that it does not violate the Code, regardless of whether a consumer complaint is received. This process helps protect against any lack of awareness of the system amongst citizens. A detailed analytical report of monitored press, online, radio, TV and outdoor advertisements, reviewed by the NGO Generation Europe’s Polish member (independent jury member in the Polish SRO, Rada Reklamy) is published on the Polish Brewers’ website. Taking the first year of the Beer Pledge as an example, the April report reviewed 188 beer adverts and the July report 582 adverts, none of which violated the Advertising Code, whilst the September report analysed 301 new beer adverts, of which 2 violated the Code, according to the SRO verdict.
Finally, the Spanish Brewers, Cerveceros de España has a code operated in co-operation with two Consumers Organisations (CECU and UCE) and Autocontrol (SRO). An annual report, in cooperation with UCE, CECU and Autocontrol, is published and compiles the complaints on beer commercial communications. This document is made public through Cerveceros de España’s website and was sent to 115 authorities in Spain.