Today, the Portman Group launches a consultation reviewing Code rule 3.2(h) on particular appeal to under-18s in the Naming, Packaging and Promotion of Alcoholic Drinks Code (Code). The consultation closes on 7 July and can be read here.

The consultation seeks views on proposed changes to the wording of Code rule 3.2(h), following an issue that has arisen in the daily application of the Code and to ensure alignment with the Portman Group’s Alcohol Sponsorship Code.

The proposed change to the Code rule adds the following text: “A producer must not allow the placement of brand names, logos or trademarks on merchandise which has a particular appeal to under-18s or is intended for use primarily by under-18s.” Consultation respondents are invited to give their views on whether the Code rule should be changed and if they agree with the proposed wording.

Since the Code was launched in 1996, nearly a third (30%) of all cases considered by the Independent Complaints Panel (Panel) have been under Code rule 3.2(h); and since 2018, more cases have been considered under this rule than any other.

The Code, which has undergone six reviews since its launch, ensures that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way, only to those aged 18 and over, and in a way that does not appeal particularly to those who are vulnerable.

Matt Lambert, CEO of the Portman Group – the alcohol social responsibility body and marketing regulator said: “Self-regulation is at its most effective when it enables robust, proportionate action quickly and in a way that also allows the views of all interested parties to be heard.

“This consultation seeks to address an issue the Portman Group identified following a complaint. While a technical breach did not occur, we believe it is appropriate to tighten the wording of Code rule 3.2(h) to prevent any marketing from creating a link between alcohol and products intended for or with particular appeal to children. .

“I look forward to seeing the responses to this consultation so that the regulation of alcohol marketing remains fit for purpose and ensures that alcohol is promoted in a socially responsible way.”