1. Extract from the RRAI Code of Practice:
"Advertising: In-store advertising of alcohol products is confined to the area in which they are displayed and will not be placed in windows or at internal locations where it is intended to be seen from outside the premises. Advertising materials produced by retailers will not be aimed at minors and will not seek to glamorise alcohol consumption or encourage excessive consumption."
2. Extract from the Explanatory Guidelines of the RRAI Code of Practice:
"Advertising: The Code provides that in-store advertising of alcohol products is confined to the area in which such products are displayed. Advertising materials should not, therefore, be placed in windows or at internal locations where they are intended to be seen from outside the premises. Moreover, advertising materials produced by retailers should not seek to glamorise alcohol, or encourage excessive consumption, and should not be directed at minors.
As a complementary measure, the mixed trading sector has given a commitment that any advertisement published in newspapers or magazines must devote at least 75% of any such advertisement to products other than alcohol. This commitment does not apply to a retailer’s own publications or to trade magazines. In addition, the sector undertakes not to commission any alcohol-only radio or television advertising."
3. Members’ Decisions to Toughen Code-provisions on Advertising and Marketing: (as set out on pages 16 and 17 of the RRAI Independent Chairperson's Third Annual Compliance Report, 30 September 2011)
Over time, in the course of implementing the Code, and as certain practical queries on compliance arose, the RRAI Board took a series of decisions to toughen its advertising rules. These decisions were taken in the interests of consistency with the letter and spirit of the original Code, as follows:
(a) Revised Print-Advertising Commitments:
In respect of advertisements which members place in newspapers and magazines, the Code commits members to devoting at least 75% of any such advertising space to products other than alcohol. Alternatively, alcohol products should not constitute over 25% of any such advertisement. (This can be summarised as the “25% alcohol/75% non-alcohol” advertising rule.)
Over time, certain ambiguities emerged in the practical application of these provisions. As a result, the RRAI’s members decided to adopt a more detailed formulation in respect of print advertising in the interests of uniform compliance. The detailed formulation is as follows:
“Any advertisement published in newspapers and magazines must devote at least 75% of any such core advertising space, exclusive of corporate borders, to products other than alcohol, with no more than 25% of such relevant core advertising space exclusive of corporate borders, being allocated to alcohol products. In any spacing calculation, products have to be allocated their full and proper proportion of space.”
The Code specifically excludes retailers’ own publications or trade magazines from this restriction. The Code also prohibits mixed trading retailers from commissioning any alcohol-only radio or TV advertising. As mentioned in my Compliance-Report last year [i.e. 2010], the Board of the RRAI took the initiative of extending the scope of these advertising restrictions in the interest of enhancing the effectiveness and credibility of the Code. The RRAI Board decided to extend the “25% alcohol/75% non-alcohol” advertising rule to other media such as newspaper inserts, outdoor advertising billboards, bus advertisements and bus shelter advertising, as set out below.
(b) Newspaper Inserts, Supplements, Flyers and Mail-Shots:
The RRAI agreed that all inserts and supplements should allocate no more than 25% of space to alcohol products and that at least 75% of space be devoted to products other than alcohol. These spacing provisions apply to the entirety of the insert or supplement. The RRAI also agreed that all flyers and mail-shots produced by members should allocate no more than 25% of space to alcohol products and that at least 75% of space be devoted to products other than alcohol. These spacing provisions apply to the entirety of the flyer or mail-shot.
(c) Outdoor Advertising:
The RRAI agreed the following commitments regarding outdoor advertising:
• Any advertisement on billboards, buses or in bus shelters must devote at least 75% of any such core advertising space, exclusive of corporate borders, to products other than alcohol, with no more than 25% of such relevant core advertising space, exclusive of corporate borders, being allocated to alcohol products. In any spacing calculation products have to be allocated their full and proper proportion of space.
• No billboard or bus shelter advertising featuring alcohol will be placed within 100 metres of a primary or secondary school or a premises that is on the list of designated youth sites drawn up by the Department of Health & Children. This is consistent with agreements made between the outdoor media association and the Department of Health & Children and is the current practice of providers used by the RRAI’s member-groups.
The Code stipulates that the RRAI’s members undertake not to commission any alcohol-only radio or television advertising. To avoid ambiguity, the RRAI Board agreed that any advertisements featuring alcohol products commissioned by its members and broadcast on radio or television would apply the following principles:
• Exclusive of corporate introductions, the alcohol products should not exceed 25% of the net time available for products featured. It was also agreed that 75% of the net time available for featured products would feature product(s) other than alcohol.
• For example, in a standard 20 second radio advertising slot where 5 seconds was used at the beginning or end of the advert for corporate content leaving 15 seconds net time available for product advertising, the time allocated to alcohol products should not exceed 25% of that 15 second period, equivalent to a maximum duration of 3.75 seconds.
• As the minimum practical advertising slot for alcohol within an advert is three seconds, the timing restrictions do not apply below this three-second threshold.
• In 2011, in consultation with the Alcohol Marketing Communications Monitoring Body, the RRAI Board agreed that alcohol-related advertising for RRAI-members should not be broadcast during “family breakfast time”, which runs from 6:00am to 10:00am daily. This mirrors the existing broadcasting industry codes, which already prohibit the broadcast-advertising of alcohol during family breakfast time. As RRAI-members do not have direct control over broadcasters’ advertising schedules, the onus is on the broadcasters themselves to ensure that this rule is adhered to, but RRAI-members nonetheless support the principle that alcohol-related advertising should not be broadcast during family breakfast time.