Latest Advertising Regulations for Alcohol Brands

As social media platforms evolve, so do the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and Committee of Advertising Practice’s (CAP) regulations.  What’s the latest on influencer ad regulations for alcohol brands, in the UK?

We teamed up with Rupa Shah, Founder of Hashtag Ad Consulting, to bring you the best practices every alcohol marketer should consider. 

Striking the right balance between creativity and compliance is more important than ever. TAKUMI’s fully managed service and platform capabilities enable alcohol brands to run impactful yet compliant campaigns. 

Here are the regulations we incorporate in campaigns to make sure all our clients deliver Brand Safe activations:

📸: @uptoclaudia for TAKUMI & Bud Light Chelada

1. Alcohol drinks must not be directed at people under 18 years of age through the selection of media or the content in which they appear.

This is particularly relevant to the context and the creative direction dictated by the brief. We see many alcohol brands trying to appeal to Gen Z. Our Client Services team tailor briefs to unleash a creative flair; while remaining compliant and mitigating any risk of implying underaged consumption. Marketing communications must not be likely to appeal to people under 18, especially by reflecting or being associated with youth culture.

2. No medium should be used to advertise alcohol drinks if more than 25% of its audience is under 18 years of age.

Shortlisting influencers followed by the right demographic is critical for compliance but also efficiency. At TAKUMI we effectively utilise our tech stack, as well as social platforms’ own data, to match your brand with the influencers who meet that criteria – from the outset. This means, you save valuable time by only considering talent who is in position to safely promote your alcohol brand.

3. Considering a platform’s algorithm behaviour is just as important as considering the influencer.

Now, this one is wild! Sometimes it’s not just about the influencers’ actual following, but also the likelihood of the post being distributed to a younger audience through a platform’s ‘discovery’ tab. In a recent ruling, ASA cited BARB data which indicated an influencer’s post is likely to reach a younger audience beyond her own following. The ruling was justified using BARB data which suggested the influencer (known for being a Love Island presenter) was likely to appear on the discovery feeds of under-aged individuals.

📸: jane_littlesugarsnaps for TAKUMI & Beefeater Pink

4. Influencers must be socially responsible and must not suggest that alcohol has therapeutic qualities, is capable of changing mood, or could enhance confidence.

Naturally creators look to position alcohol content within a fun, dynamic setting. The upbeat videos benefit from higher engagement and resonate with audiences, as this is exactly what alcohol is associated with – fun. But how do you know if the mark has been overstepped, when even dance moves could be challenged by the ASA? We deliver socially responsible content. Your TAKUMI account manager is at the helm, reviewing content that allows for a compliant but creative showcase of a brand’s personality.

5. Lyrics chosen by creators are just as important as captions, hashtags and visual assets.

The choice of audio carries as much importance as the caption and the visual representation of the brief. It must not have any appeal to children nor youth culture. If a creator opts for an audio with lyrics, these must be considerate. Particularly, avoiding any implications of enhanced confidence and overconsumption.

📸: @flosevensma for TAKUMI & Bacardi

6. Do you look after an ‘alcohol alternatives’ brand?

The alcohol alternatives market, broadly speaking, uses ‘alcohol free,’ ‘zero alcohol,’ and ‘non-alcoholic’ to describe drinks at or below 0.5%. Influencer marketing campaigns for alcohol alternatives must not encourage the consumption of alcohol at times or on occasions that are not generally considered to be appropriate, such as during the working day or during sporting activities.

If you are an alcohol marketer looking to deliver creative, brand safe campaigns – book a TAKUMI demo today


To read a case study discussing the above principles and rulings, head to Hashtag Ad’s blog.