Portman Group announces fifth major code review

By Stuart Stone contact

- Last updated on GMT

Shaping the future: the Portman Group is reviewing its code of practice
Shaping the future: the Portman Group is reviewing its code of practice
Alcohol marketing watchdog the Portman Group has revealed it will review its code of practice on 27 April.

The group is calling on everyone with an interest in alcohol marketing to engage with the 10-week public consultation, ending on 6 July, which will result in the introduction of the sixth edition of the code in spring 2019.

Since the code’s introduction in 1996, the packaging and marketing of more than 150 drinks have been found to be in breach of its guidelines.

While respondents are invited to raise new issues or concerns, some of the key areas being addressed include:

  • Changes in mood or behaviour – giving the Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) further powers to rule against suggestions that alcohol consumption will ‘improve’ mental and physical capabilities.
  • Defining immoderate consumption – establishing a new and credible definition for assessing complaints about irresponsible sampling promotions or packaging such as single-serve, non-resealable containers, following the removal of daily guidelines from the chief medical officers’ lower-risk drinking guidelines
  • Offering additional protection to vulnerable individuals – by amending the code to protect those that are socially or mentally vulnerable.
  • Strengthening the code to prohibit direct or indirect links with alcohol and illegal activity.
  • Introducing a new rule with supporting guidance addressing serious and widespread offence, such as sexism in marketing.

Maintaining high standards

Portman Group chief executive John Timothy said: “This is a great opportunity to shape the future of alcohol regulation and I urge anyone with a view on alcohol marketing to get involved. 

“We have one of the strongest and most effective systems of self-regulation in the UK and we want to keep it that way.

“By asking challenging and ambitious questions now, we can ensure the code provides the right balance between maintaining the highest standards of responsible marketing and allowing producers the freedom to create great brands and campaigns that are so important to the UK’s economy.”

The consultation is available to download from the Portman Group website here.

Related topics: Legislation

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