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Alcohol Industry Commits To Influencer Standards

The NZ Alcohol Beverages Council (NZABC) supports moves by global industry partners to put in place safeguards for the use of social influencers. The Influencer Pledge, announced by the International Association for Responsible Drinking (IARD) this week, is part of a global programme for ensuring transparency, the use of responsible content and the prevention of the young from seeing alcohol-related marketing.[i]

The responsibility standards for social influencers in the pledge include clear commitments to:

· not make health claims

· not promote illegal or excessive consumption

· not encourage consumption to those under the legal purchase age

· not link consumption to social success

· not position abstinence negatively.

Furthermore, influencers need to be over the age of 25 and appeal to an adult audience. They are required to promote responsible drinking for those who choose to drink and discourage heavy drinking, drinking during pregnancy, drink driving and underage drinking. The standards also recognise the importance of monitoring influencer posts and campaigns for compliance.

“The global pledge is a powerful responsibility commitment and works well in a New Zealand context as we are effectively one step ahead with the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which already provides careful guidance on the relationship between influencers and alcohol brands,” says Bridget MacDonald NZABC Executive Director.

“But the broader step of a worldwide industry commitment to provide more transparency around influencers and alcohol advertising is a positive step toward ensuring influencer content is responsible and that brands, agencies and influencers are all putting safeguards in place,” says Bridget.

“There has only been a handful of alcohol-related social influencer complaints to the ASA over the past couple of years, which shows NZABC members already operate with a high standard of social responsibility and will continue to do so,” says Bridget.

The inaugural signatories[ii] to the pledge include NZABC members: Asahi Beverages NZ, DB Breweries, Lion NZ, Pernod Ricard Winemakers NZ, Spirits New Zealand and Brewers Association of New Zealand.

“IARD and its members are encouraging other producers and advertising, public relations, and influencer agencies to sign up to the Influencer Pledge, which 13 global agencies have already done. It also provides a toolkit to support influencers who market alcohol to create responsible content and help prevent those underage from seeing alcohol marketing,” Bridget says.

“Marketing is about promoting a brand, not increasing consumption. Globally, virtually all research has found that alcohol marketing, including sports sponsorship or social media advertising, has no or very modest effects on overall alcohol consumption. The Foundation for Advertising Research has shown that while advertising spending has increased in New Zealand over the past decade, we’ve also seen alcohol consumption decreasing steadily. Still, we all have a part to play in being responsible when marketing our products – this includes ensuring that agencies and influencers we work with have the information and tools that allow them to do the same,” says Bridget.

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