Commercial Communications

Updating codes and implementation guidelines

On digital, The Brewers of Europe has however not waited for the completion of the RMP work before also taking steps to address how self-regulation can keep up to speed with technological developments and marketing practices. A draft Manual accompanying The Brewers of Europe’s Guidelines on Responsible Commercial Communications was updated with a new digital annex explaining how responsible marketing can be implemented across digital media, and helping to define the responsibilities of different parties on social media, in particular the duties of the advertiser. The new annex outlines some of the tools available on social media to help guide improved targeting of adult consumers, including those tools currently available to ‘block’ access for minors on social media to beer advertising.


As an example at local level a supporting commitment was also launched by the Spanish Brewers in April 2012, whereby they committed to developing a new social media code, involving the local self-regulatory organisation Autocontrol. Internal meetings help to define the code whilst preliminary discussions on collaboration took place with Twitter.

Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland a Code of Practice on Drinks Promotions applicable to producers, retailers, the ontrade and suppliers was launched in the spring and came into force in September 2012 with the work supported by the Minister for Social Development.


In 2013 in Belgium, a second revision of the “Covenant on practice and advertising for alcohol beverages” was made together and co-signed with the Minister of Health, the Advertising Ethics Committee and the consumer organisations, Crioc and Test Achats and came into force in May 2013.The current Belgian Covenant is based on the Arnoldus Group self-regulatory Code of Conduct that was set up by the Belgian Brewers and then became applicable to other alcohol beverages in 2005.


An update supported by the Danish Brewers’ Association, Bryggeriforeningen was conducted in 2013 of the Alcohol Advertising Board website ( following the revision of the Code of Practice for marketing of alcoholic beverages. All publications from the Board have been made easily accessible and the way the Code of Practice is presented has been changed. In addition to presenting the Code in terms of stating the guidelines there are multiple guides as to how to interpret the guidelines. The Board has also outlined a checklist for companies, highlighting the different focal points that a company need to be aware of when outlining a marketing scheme. This checklist was made by the Board members on the basis of the case material presented to them since
its inception. The Danish Board on Alcohol Advertising includes representatives from, among others, the Consumer Council, the Danish Brewers’ Association and an independent President, currently a High Court solicitor.


Since February 2012 the Union of Brewers in Bulgaria’s Code for Responsible Commercial Communications and Standards requires that all beer advertisements carry the message, in Bulgarian, “Consume with pleasure and moderation”, the aim being that a message raising awareness about moderate beer consumption acts as a “trademark” for the Bulgarian brewers’ commercials.


In June 2013, an updated Responsible Marketing Policy was launched by Heineken, setting out clear guidelines for all the company’s marketing activity – from its social media presence to its sponsored events – to ensure consistency and clarity across the entire brand portfolio. It applies to all its brand advertising, promotions, PR and sponsorship, regardless of channel and in the UK incorporates guidelines from all relevant external bodies including the Portman Group, Drinkaware and CAP. Efforts were made to make the Policy as simple and user-friendly as possible for both colleagues and external agencies working on branded material.In Austria in 2013, activities about responsible consumption in brand marketing initiatives for the brands Goesser, Zipfer, Heineken and Puntigamer were extended to include responsible consumption messages in sponsorship banners and other media.


The existing “Marketing Communication Policy” of the Carlsberg Group was also reviewed and strengthened in 2013 for use in all markets round the world to ensure that all internal rules and self-regulation support the company’s ambition and efforts for future growth in the responsible enjoyment of beer.

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