NEW YORK: The alcohol industry and 13 advertising, PR and influencer agencies have agreed to a global standard for alcohol marketing by social media influencers.
Agencies including McCann London, Publicis Groupe, Havas and Dentsu have signed an agreement with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking. The not-for-profit is dedicated to reducing harmful drinking and promoting understanding of responsible drinking and represents alcohol producers globally including AB InBev, Heineken and Brown-Forman. The pledge includes transparency for sponsored products and a promise to use age-affirming tech on social media platforms.
In addition to the pledge, IARD will provide tools and videos to all alcohol brands and influencers to follow responsible content-creation practices and will ask participating companies to make formal commitments to avoid making health claims, promoting illegal or excessive consumption or positioning abstinence negatively. A set of safeguards will apply to any content involving influencers who work with beer, wine and spirits producers.
The joint pledge builds on actions by IARD to ensure safeguards for alcohol advertising online, including partnerships with YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat to improve age screening and the release of digital guiding principles.
“These standards directly address some of the biggest concerns facing the marketing community right now,” said Albert Baladi, president and CEO of Beam Suntory and chair of IARD CEO Group in a statement. “By offering more transparency and giving those at the heart of content creation the correct tools to safeguard their content, we are able to expand on the significant progress and marketing codes of practice already in place to ensure that these posts do not reach minors or encourage any kind of irresponsible consumption.”
Other participating organizations supporting the standards include consultancy and experience design agency Engine, PR firm Evins, social media and influencer marketing agency Fanbytes, creative agency Hero, marketing and communications agency ICG Next, social media and PR shop Multiply, entertainment marketing agency Starpower, influencer marketing startup Upfluence and microinfluencer solutions company VizSense.
“Brand marketers have a duty of care to review and reinforce marketing codes and principles and work alongside their agencies to ensure advertisements fully comply with advertising codes of conduct. Influencer marketing is no different,” said Will Gilroy, director of policy and communications at the World Federation of Advertisers in a statement.
Influencer marketing across all sectors is predicted to grow to $13.8 billion by the end of 2021, according to the Influencer Marketing Hub Benchmark Report 2021. Several organizations have issued similar guidance with respect to the sale and marketing of alcohol over the years, including the International Chamber of Commerce and the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code in Australia.