Alcohol Action Ireland calls for legal action on zero-alcohol drink advertisements 

The public health charity expresses worry about the extensive promotion of zero-alcohol beverages by the alcohol industry, suggesting potential violations of advertising laws and the need for legal clarification

The charity is concerned by alcohol companies’ escalating promotion of non-alcoholic beverages as a tactic to bolster their brand (photo by cottonbro studio via Pexels)

Alcohol Action Ireland (AAI) has voiced concerns about the alcohol industry heavily promoting their zero-alcohol drinks, suggesting it might violate advertising laws and should be reviewed by the courts.

The public health charity is concerned by alcohol companies’ escalating promotion of non-alcoholic beverages as a tactic to bolster their brand, despite being constrained by regulations governing the advertising of alcoholic drinks.

AAI advocates for bringing the alcohol industry’s promotion of their non-alcoholic beverages to court to clarify the law’s application, according to The Journal.

In Ireland, the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018 prohibits alcohol advertising in public parks, playgrounds, public transport, near schools, sporting events, and children-oriented events. The Act broadly defines advertising as any commercial communication promoting alcohol products, directly or indirectly.

It says that includes:

  • “(a) (i) a statement of the name of a manufacturer or importer of an alcohol product, or the name of any brand of alcohol product, or (ii) a statement of any trade description or designation, or a display or other publication of a trademark, emblem, marketing image or logo, by reference to which the product is marketed or sold, in circumstances where such statement, display or publication may reasonably be regarded as a recommendation of the product to the public, and
  • (b) a statement of the properties of the product on a label, container, wrapper or package used for the product or in a leaflet, circular, pamphlet or brochure issued to the public or given to a purchaser of the product.”

Dr Sheila Gilheany, chief executive officer, Alcohol Action Ireland, said: “What is the point of our legislation if it is simply being overridden by commercial interests? These ads are being run during the day, which will also make a mockery of the broadcast watershed on alcohol advertising when it becomes operational from Jan 2025 if this is not addressed.”

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