Content (EN) ( English version )
The renewed Advertising Code for Alcoholic beverages (RvA9 will come into force as from January 1st, 2014. Most striking is the change in the educational message. Because of the age limit increase from 16 to 18 years, this has obviously been changed. Furthermore the Article on digital marketing has been clarified. For articles 1, 8, 14, 19, 24, 27 and 30, a transitional period of 3 months is applicable. For articles 33 and 34 applies a transitional period of 6 months.
What are the most important amendments?
Article 1 has been extended with a description of what is meant by excessive consumption and which conditions are required for an under-the-cap action.
Article 8 has been detailed and specified, so that it has become clearer what is and what is not allowed when it concerns sexual success.
Article 14 has been clarified so that it is clear now what is and what is not allowed when it concerns risky behaviour. It is allowed to show some forms of behaviour with a certain degree of risk. The essence that advertisers may not incite clearly risky behaviour has been formulated much clearer now.
Article 24 has been clarified and formulated in a more practicable way. It is now much clearer what is and what is not allowed when it concerns digital marketing.
Article 33 has been amended, as we have taken leave from the educational message: “No 16? Not a drop” because of the new age limit.
Article 34 is a new article, in which it has been laid down that if the package is in breach of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic beverages (RvA), resellers (both in the catering industry and in retail) will be notified of this.
However, should you have any questions, feel free to contact STIVA
Since the irresponsible consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause problems, restraint shall be exercised in all advertising messages for such beverages. Advertisements of alcoholic beverages shall not show, suggest, nor stimulate any excessive or otherwise irresponsible consumption.
Explanation of Article 1
Excessive or otherwise irresponsible consumption is in any case (this list is not exhaustive):
* the visible drinking of a full glass at one draught
* showing a glass which is at least twice as big as the standard glass (A standard glass of beer contains 250 ml, of wine 100 ml and of liquor 35 ml) for the category of that respective alcoholic beverage
* showing a disproportionate packaging, for example a bucket or similar object, from which can be drunk directly by several people, for example by means of straws. Showing a pitcher is exclusively permitted in the context that the pitcher is poured into several glasses.
A so-called ‘under-the-cap action’ is not permitted, unless the following conditions are met:
1. Consumers cannot only take part by opening a non-reclosable packaging (bottles with crown caps, tabs of cans), but also by means of an alternative way and this is communicated clearly (such as visiting a web site, etc.)
2. The alternative way to take part mentioned in paragraph 1 is in reasonable relation to taking part by means of purchasing and opening alcoholic beverages with non-reclosable packagings.
Guidelines to Article 1 – Quantity
The irresponsible consumption of alcoholic beverages can cause problems. Therefore it is important that the advertising message shows responsible alcohol consumption and that people are not encouraged to drink excessively. Use restraint with the quantity of alcohol you show and take into account the total number of drinks per person. The alcoholic beverage should be consumed quickly. Avoid the image of one person drinking several alcoholic drinks.
A crate with bottles is sometimes not excessive …
In the island commercial of Bacardi a (large) quantity of limes is cut in slices and a crate of bottles of Bacardi rum is carried in. By showing a large amount of people who are visiting the party on the island, there is no (suggestion of) excessive or irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
… but sometimes one six pack is
In Bavaria’s commercial with Piet Paulusma we see that meteorologist Piet Paulusma comes to the conclusion that the weather will be very nice the next day. Therefore he decides to buy an extra six pack of Bavaria. The RCC (Advertising Code Commission) judged that the commercial was not sufficiently reserved and therefore in conflict with the Advertising Code for Alcoholic beverages (RvA).
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not portray abstinence of alcohol consumption or moderate alcohol consumption negatively, nor may the advertising of alcoholic beverages be contrasted favorably against any non-alcoholic beverage.
Abstinence or moderate alcohol consumption may not be portrayed negatively. People may not be challenged to take up drinking if they do not choose to do so themselves.
Under certain conditions it is permitted to offer a passer-by beer
In the commercial ‘Automatiek’ two Belgians are making an effort to promote Palm beer in the Netherlands. Henk and Bert stop a passer-by who just took a minced-meat hot dog from an automat. They put him at a table on the street where an extensive lunch is served, together with a glass of Palm beer. Then a voice over says: ‘Become a Burgundian too. Palm, pure authentic beer’. The RCC judged that because of the humouristically intended exaggeration, there was no question of a negative portrayal of the abstinence of alcohol consumption.
3. Alcoholic nature
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not arouse any confusion concerning the alcoholic nature and the alcohol percentage of the alcoholic beverage.
Advertising messages for an alcoholic beverage, including the brand name, generic name and the packaging, may not arouse the impression that the beverage in question is a soft drink, lemonade or other type of non-alcoholic beverage.
Guidelines to Article 3
When drinks such as fruit juices have been combined with alcoholic beverages, then it should be made sufficiently clear that the drink is an alcoholic beverage. Do not use any words such as ‘fruit drink’, ‘fruit juice’, or ‘soft drink’, so the impression cannot arise that the beverage in question is a non-alcoholic drink.
2Fruity really is too fruity
In advertising messages of 2Fruity the fact that the drink also contained fruit juice was emphatically stressed. For example, in different messages they said among other: “2fruity, full of juicy details”, “2fruity is a fresh and fruity drink’. Despite the fact that “Alcoholic fruit drink” was mentioned on the bottle, the RCC believed that it was not sufficiently clear that it concerns an alcoholic beverage here.
4. Alcoholic content
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not suggest that the alcoholic content is in itself a positive property. Nor may it be implied that risks are eliminated the lower the alcoholic percentage.
Guidelines to Article 4
The alcohol percentage has to be actually mentioned on the packaging, but it may never be presented as a primary advantage of the brand. This applies to both a relatively high and low alcohol percentage.
Too much emphasis on a high percentage of alcohol
The packaging among other said:“You feel that you are drinking beer. Imported Atlas super strong beer. Super strong.12%.” The RCC judged that the packaging too much emphasized the height of the alcohol per¬cen¬tage.
Mentioning a low percentage of alcohol as a primary advantage is not allowed either
The printed advertising message for Lindemans Early Harvest Crisp Dry wine was in conflict with Article 4 of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA), because the following was communicated in this message: ‘Light wine. Many light wines contain around 12% of alcohol, but Early Harvest Crisp Dry of Lindemans only contains 9 percent. And less alcohol means less calories!’.
5. Good taste and decency
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not be at variance with good taste and decency, or detract from human dignity and integrity.
Guidelines to Article 5
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not unnecessarily hurt people. Avoid every insult or offence. Discrimination on the basis of race, sexual inclination, religion and suchlike is absolutely forbidden.
Sometimes you can go too far
An advertisement of Bavaria in Voetbal International said among other: “Your balls are in good hands with us”. The RCC is normally very reserved with its judgments with regard to Article 5, but in this case still chose to determine that this advertisement was in conflict with the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA). Reasons: the lack of subtlety, hinting at ‘a date’ with some of the ladies shown and offering ‘care’ by the ladies from the advertisement.
7. Professional performance
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages enhances professional performance.
Explanation of Article 7
It is not allowed to show people drinking alcoholic beverages in the workplace or if there is a direct link with the workplace. If the setting has to be that of a work environment, it should be clear that it is the end of the working day. However, an indirect link is allowed, for example if one drinks an alcoholic beverage at the end of the working day in another room of the work environment – in a canteen or recreation space.
Guidelines to Article 7
Alcohol and work is not a good combination. It is not allowed to show people drinking alcoholic beverages at the workplace. If the setting has to be a workplace, then make sure that it is clear that it concerns the end of the working day. Also make sure that people are not drinking alcoholic beverages in the work environment, but in a canteen.
Bavaria’s Klokklok Commercial is an example of how it should be done
In this commercial we see an interpreter at the end of his job opening a beer in another room. He is still carrying his microphone, but there is no physical contact anymore with the people who are still at work. So this is all just allowed.
8. Social and/or sexual success
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not arouse the impression that there is a causal connection between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and being socially and sexually successful. The impression that this causal connection exists can also arise by means of the suggestion that alcohol is consumed without really showing the alcohol (consumption).
More specifically the messages as described in the explanation of Article 8 are not permitted (this list is not exhaustive).
Explanation of Article 8
• messages in which one or several people are portrayed in a ‘before’ versus ‘after’ situation, where in the ‘before’ situation one or several people evidently fail in social and/or interpersonal skills and after the consumption of an alcoholic beverage in the ‘after’ situation dispose of social and/or interpersonal skills;
• messages in which someone gets a job or a promotion at his work as a result of alcohol (consumption);
• messages in which someone evidently obtains more social status as a direct result of alcohol (consumption).
• messages in which a situation in a bar or club or at a party is shown in which other people are only willing to dance with the central figure in the message after he/she has drunk an alcoholic beverage (and who evidently do not want to do this before that time);
• messages in which people are portrayed in a ‘before’ versus ‘after’ situation in which the successful picking up of someone in a catering facility or getting into a sexual relationship is portrayed, as a direct result of alcohol (consumption);
• messages in which a person takes off his/her clothes, takes up a more provocative position or evidently makes him-/herself sexually available with regard to either another person in the message, or the viewer, where it is abundantly clear that this is the result of alcohol (consumption).
• messages in which a man completely takes off his clothes or has someone else take them off completely or is completely naked (even if this is not evidently the result of alcohol (consumption));
• messages in which a woman takes off her clothes or has someone else take off her clothes until she is topless or completely naked, or messages in which she is topless or naked (even if this is not evidently the result of alcohol (consumption)).
NB: showing one or several people who are (already) sexually or socially successful is in itself not in conflict with Article 8 of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA).
Guidelines to Article 8 – Social and sexual success
‘Sex sells’ is a widely known piece of marketing wisdom. In alcohol advertisements it is also possible to portray beautiful people. But the industry has also imposed some limits on itself here. Here it is central that no causal connection may be shown between drinking alcoholic beverages and social and/or sexual success. Especially avoid any ‘before / after’ situations, in which drinking alcoholic beverages is visible or the suggestion that this is done is strongly present. The reason for this is that alcoholic beverages may not be presented as some kind of ‘miracle drug’ which leads to whichever type of success. Also make sure that you do not go too far in using any sexually tinted images. After all, that what is still cultured to one person, can be offending to another person.
A well-known foreign example of a violation of this article, is that of a TV commercial of Carling from 2002. This commercial shows a man who in an increasingly excited condition licks up a track of beer that has been made by his wife by pouring out a can of beer through the entire house. The house is becoming sparkling clean and the man is getting more and more excited, especially when they finally reach the bedroom. There they are out of beer and as a result of this, the excitement of the man disappears as well.
Flirting is allowed, especially when people are not drinking …
In the Hij/Zij (He/She) commercial of Wieckse Witte and Rosé you see a man and woman flirting with each other in an outdoor café with a glass of Wieckse Witte and Rosé in front of them on the table. At the end of the commercial they toast together with their glasses in their hands. Apart from the fact whether flirting is or is not sexual success, they are not drinking, so it is unrealistic to see a causal connection between the consumption of an alcoholic beverage and sexual success.
… but there are limits: Cult Shaker of R&B Beverage
A printed advertising message shows two ladies with bare upper bodies who are at the point of kissing each other and some bottles of Cult Shaker. The RCC judged that the impression is aroused that there is a causal connection between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and sexual success.
9. Claims (EN)
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not:
refer to the disinhibiting effects of alcoholic beverages, such as the reduction or elimination of fears and feelings of inner or social conflict.
refer to the possible health benefits of drinking alcoholic beverages.
suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages improves physical or mental performance.
suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages positively influences sporting performance.
Guidelines to Article 6
In advertising messages for alcoholic beverages no claims or suggestions may be made about the positive health effects of alcohol. However, one is allowed to refer to taste perception. Do not use any words such as ‘energizing’ and ‘energy’ either, because then the impression might arise that consumption of the product makes a person more energetic. The RCC has judged in several cases that these words suggest that it improves physical and mental performance.
Refreshing versus it refreshes
In a commercial Strongbow Gold is described as ‘highly refreshing cider’. This judgment from the RCC made it clear that ‘fresh’ and ‘refreshing’ may be used, because in this commercial ‘refreshing’ only refers to the taste perception. Another judgment from the RCC already made it clear that the term ‘it refreshes’ may not be used, because here there is question of the suggestion of improved mental or physical performance.
9. Pregnant women
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages shall not be aimed specifically at pregnant women.
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages shall not be aimed specifically at minors. More specifically the messages as described in the explanation of Article 10 are not permitted.
Explanation of Article 10
Forbidden advertising messages within the scope of Article 10 of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA) are particularly (this list is not exhaustive):
– messages in which teenage idols are used;
– messages/promotions in which promotional items are used (such as little dolls, cuddly toys, toy cars, games, stickers, buttons, soccer cards, beach toys or school-related articles) as far as these are specifically aimed at minors;
– music that can be downloaded for free, specifically aimed at teenagers;
– messages in which music is used that is specifically aimed at teenagers;
– messages in which the specific language of young people is used;
– messages that make use of situations that refer to teenage behaviour: puberty, adolescent infatuation, school parties, examinations;
– messages in which Sinterklaas or Santa Claus as far as these are specifically aimed at minors;
– messages that make use of any style that at that moment is fashionable amongst minors.
Guidelines to Article 10
For years alcohol abuse among young people has been a widely discussed theme. That is why this Article is one of the most important articles from the Advertising Code for Alcoholic beverages. Of course the alcohol industry should hold aloof from wanting to reach minors. The industry itself uses the age limit of 18 years to define people as minors. But we go further here than the law. The industry should make clear that our products are not intended for people who are too young. That is why we have chosen to note down very clearly which forms of marketing are specifically aimed at young people. So therefore keep wide away from this kind of advertising messages. A clear example is referring to for example school parties or hinting at the examination period. These are clear examples of events that specifically apply to people who are too young.
Stickers for children are not permitted
The RCC is of the opinion that the buttons and stickers of Flügel are premiums that are specifically aimed at minors.
Stickers to be used on a cap are permitted
The RCC is of the opinion that these stickers are no premium that is ‘specifically aimed at minors’. After all, the stickers concerned are in itself not aimed at young people and only serve as embellishment of the premium.
Sinterklaas as family celebration is allowed, but not as children’s celebration
An advertising brochure shows images of Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet (Black Peter). According to the RCC, Sinterklaas is a family celebration and the celebration is not only reserved to children. Sinterklaas and Zwarte Piet cannot be regarded as teenage idols.
By way of comparison: Involvement in a promotional campaign in which one can save for tickets for a Sinterklaas party by purchasing alcoholic beverages is not allowed, because a Sinterklaas party is indeed specifically aimed at minors
11. Portrayed people
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not show any persons who are younger than or clearly look younger than 18 years old. Advertising messages in which one makes use of staged situations with scripts and models that are hired by or by order of the advertiser, may not show persons who are younger than or cleary look younger than 25 years old.
Explanation of Article 11
Facebook and other (social network) sites with photos in which persons are portrayed who have not been hired by the advertiser and where the content of the site is managed by or on behalf of the advertiser and where the advertiser has editorial control, may not show any persons who are younger than or clearly look younger than 18 years
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverage is a sign of maturity and that abstinence from alcohol consumption is a sign of immaturity.
13. Premiums (EN)
The offering of premiums to minors during catering promotions is not permitted.
14. Risky behaviour
Article 14 – Risky behaviour
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not show situations that incite risky, violent or aggressive behaviour or that encourage this behaviour.
Explanation of Article 14
Messages may, to a certain extent, show risky behaviour, provided that this risk is reasonably limited and the advertising message does not incite to imitate this risky behaviour.
Guidelines to Article 14 – Risky behaviour
Nothing in the advertising message (words, actions, images) may associate drinking with dangerous behaviour or may encourage such behaviour.
One can think of the following forms of risky behaviour (this list is not exhaustive) :
- Kite surfing
- Do parachuting
- Mountain or rock climbing
- Whitewater kayaking
- Bungee jumping
- Car racing
- Motorcycle racing
15. Drugs (EN)
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not show any acceptation of, association with, or reference to illegal drugs.
Guidelines to Article 15
Any association with illegal drugs and alcohol must be avoided. Alcohol, coffee and tobacco are legal substances. By illegal drugs we mean drugs such as described in the Opium act. Examples are: heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, LSD, XTC, marihuana and GHB.
Image of a hemp leave is not permitted
On the bottle of the liquorette ‘Squeeze Hennep’ a hemp leave was portrayed. This is no longer allowed.
16. Events: public order
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages in connection with events is not permitted, if it may reasonably be suspected that this will encourage disruption of the public order and/or disruption of the event concerned.
17. Events: risk of physical injury
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages in connection with events is not permitted, if it may reasonably be expected that this may create the risk of physical injury for participants and/or spectators.
Guidelines to Article 17
This refers to the sponsoring of events that apart from the element of competition and/or sports also have aggressive features and/or where bodily harm can be inflicted on participants in the event (such as boxing).
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not establish a link between the consumption of alcoholic beverages and active participation in traffic using a vehicle of any kind.
If a recommendation of alcoholic beverages is shown on a vehicle, then the vehicle shall also bear a clearly legible warning against active participation in traffic after the use of alcohol. Exceptions are vehicles used for the transportation of alcoholic beverages, such as trucks, vehicles for technical services of the hospitality and catering industry.
Guidelines to Article 18
Alcohol and traffic are not a good combination in advertising messages for alcoholic beverages either. Here it is important that drinking alcoholic beverages or the suggestion that this occurs, is not associated with active participation in traffic. This refers to all means of transport, including bicycles, boats and hot air balloons. When a person is shown who is driving a vehicle before he/she goes to a bar or arrives at a party, it is essential to show that this person will not be driving again, for example by showing that the keys are being handed to a non-drinker.
19. Sport and event sponsorship
The linkage of a brand name of an alcoholic beverage to an event is permitted.
It is permitted to show the sponsorship on physical advertising materials in the framework of events, provided that the rules of Articles 10, 16, 17, 21 and 30 are complied with.
It is permitted to advertise through physical advertising materials in the framework of events, provided that articles 10, 16, 17, 21 and 30 are complied with.
With regard to the content of the advertising messages that are used in paragraphs 1 up to 3, it applies that in case of sports and events sponsorship all rules of this Code are applicable.
Guidelines to Article 19 – Sports and events sponsorship
The linkage of a brand name of an alcoholic beverage to an event is permitted. All rules of the Code also apply to sports and events sponsorship. It is permitted to show the sponsorship through physical advertising materials, provided that articles 10, 16, 17, 21 and 30 are complied with. Under the terms of Article 21 it is necessary to find out through or together with the organisation who exactly will be visiting the event and what percentage of this is younger than 18 years old. If you cannot determine this for certain and if there are any signals that more than 25% of the visitors is younger than 18, than it would be wise not to sponsor this event. Also remember Article 30, because a brand name of an alcoholic beverage may not be portrayed on clothing, attributes and means of transport that are used by a sportsman or sports team for active sports.
20. Free supply
Except in the case of tasting sessions, advertising involving an alcoholic beverage being offered by a member of the industry or with the active co-operation of a member of the industry to private individuals free of charge or at less than half the normal retail price is not permitted.
The value of a premium offered may not be more than half of the total value of the purchased product including the purchased premium.
Explanation of Article 20
According to the new Alcohol Law, that entered into force by 1st of July 2021, the maximum discount permitted is 25% of the normal retail price. It is not allowed to use the word ‘free’ or synonyms thereof (such as ‘present’ or ‘treat’) in communications.
It also holds for grocery packages and rewards in competitions and/or actions that no alcoholic beverages may be given away, even though the word ‘free’ or a synonym of it is not used in the message.
Guidelines to Article 20
Giving away alcoholic beverages for free in whichever form is not permitted. This does not suit responsible alcohol marketing. At the moment of the transaction there always has to be a financial reimbursement of a least 75% of the normal retail price. It appears that the RCC interprets this article very strictly. Presenting people with festival tickets is permitted, provided that the winners will not receive any ‘free’ alcoholic beverages during the festival. So do not use ‘all-inclusive’ or ‘including drinks’ in your communications.
The value of a premium offered may not be more than half of the total value of the purchased product including the purchased premium. Below two calculation examples will be provided.
May you offer a crate of beer at a 25 % discount and a premium with a value of €2,-?
Crate of beer at € 12 (with a 25 % discount) + premium at € 2 = €14,-
Offering this crate at a discount of 25% and a premium with the value of €2 is permitted, because you are paying €9,00 for the crate and this is than 25% of €14,-, which is the total value (crate + premium).
For promotional campaigns in which for example the second entrance ticket is for free with the purchase of for example a crate of beer, the following calculation example applies:
Crate of beer at € 7,50 + ticket at €40,- + free ticket at € 40,- = the total value of € 87,50.
Offering a free ticket is not permitted because it amounts to higher than 25% of € 87,50, which is the total value.
All-inclusive party? Free drinks?!
Winners could win an all-inclusive Ladies Party at their home. According to the RCC there is question here of offering alcoholic beverages for free, because this party is completely taken care of by Canei. Even though it is not specifically communicated that the reward also includes Canei. Only by the linkage of the brand name of the alcoholic beverage Canei, it is sufficiently plausible that alcoholic beverages of this brand will also be provided.
Because part of the business that is involved in the supply of alcoholic beverages, the hotel and catering industry, is not a member of the STIVA, enforcement is not possible in this respect, except on the basis of voluntariness or co-operation of the media involved. Any pronouncements on Article 20 with regard to catering entrepreneurs who do not return a Compliance form to the Advertising Code Foundation ( Stichting Reclame Code (SRC)), will be communicated by STIVA to the entrepreneur involved and the local authority of the place where the entrepreneur/enterprise involved is established.
21. Minors: events
No advertising of alcoholic beverages in any form may reach a public that consists of more than twenty-five percent (25%) of minors. The reach is determined over a representative measuring period that is determined on the basis of the concrete circumstances of the case (among other its location, medium, impact, proportionality) and by means of reach figures that are as objective as possible.
The standard for determining the reach of advertising messages is the generally accepted survey for this purpose in the market and, in case not available, any other valid and representative evidence.
In case of events the attendance figures are the standard for determining the reach of advertising messages. The burden of proof regarding the reach of advertising messages falls on the advertiser, who has to base his figures on generally accepted viewer or listener ratings in the market or any other valid and representative evidence. As far as web sites and their subpages are concerned, one should make a reasonable case for using user profiles.
Article 21 is not applicable to advertising messages that are part of the regular street scene and to incidental situations on which the advertiser has no influence. Regular street scene means all those situations that you may reasonably expect in the street scene which are also in accordance with this Code, such as light boxes with the brand name and/or logo of the brands that are on draft or served in the front of cafes and / or restaurants and abri’s. Incidental situations are situations with a single character, like the entry of Sinterklaas/Santa Claus in a part of the town or a village. Another example is a situation where a promotion team moves from one outlet to another one without actively advertising and cross a group of minors.
Explanation of Article 21
More particularly, messages that are part of the regular street scene are considered to be (not exhaustive) messages where the brand name and/or logo is shown beer mats, tap button, sunshades, flags, clothes of the barkeeper and banners that you may reasonably expect at a distribution point or mobile tap during events or fairs for the identification of the product and brand.
Guidelines to Article 21
Make sure that you will never reach an audience with your advertising messages which consists for more than 25% of minors. This also applies to locations of catering industry promotions, events, internet sites and their subpages. If you cannot determine this with certainty and if there are any signals that more than 25% of the visitors is younger than 18 years old, then do not do it. The burden of proof always falls on the advertiser. You can ask STIVA for a format on how to determine the reach figures.
Sometimes sponsorship of an event is not permitted …
For some years Grolsch has been sponsor of The Night of Hengelo. From attendance figures of Sport Monitor complainant has concluded that more than 25% of the visitors were minors. Grolsch disputed the attendance figures of Sport Monitor, but has not been able to prove that a public has been reached with this event which consisted for less than 25% of minors.
… but if you are able to demonstrate that the visitors are predominantly old enough, it is permitted
This judgment of the RCC shows the importance of a good documentation. This complaint was rejected because Heineken was well able to document how the promotional team was briefed beforehand and was able to prove with figures of another honouring that less than 25% of the public consisted of minors.
22. Minors: radio and tv
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not be broadcast on radio and television immediately before, during, or directly after programs that, according to viewer or listener rating figures generally accepted in the market, are listened to or viewed by more than twenty-five percent (25%) minors.
23. Youth Channels
Broadcasting stations for youngsters may not advertise for alcoholic beverages.
Magazines that are specifically aimed at minors may not advertise for alcoholic beverages.
Internet sites that are specifically aimed at minors may not advertise for alcoholic beverages.
Guidelines to Article 23
Annually, STIVA (Dutch Foundation for the Responsible Use of Alcohol) asks an independent agency to determine which television and radio stations are regarded as youth broadcasting stations and issues a press release on this. The advertising of events organised by these stations may not include advertising of alcoholic beverages either. Besides STIVA publishes a list of youth magazines and websites that may not show any advertisements for alcoholic beverages. If promotional actions are referring to a website, this website should state that minors are not allowed to take part in the action. The list of magazines and websites is not exhaustive.
24. Active internet marketing
Paragraph 1 – Additional effect
In addition to that which has been determined in the Dutch Advertising Code, the rules of this Article apply for active internet marketing.
Paragraph 2 – Age mentioning in screen advertising through the internet
In advertising messages from the advertiser which consist in whole or part of any moving images and which are intended for distribution through the internet, whether or not by the advertiser, the educational slogan, such as stated in Article 34, Paragraph 2, should be mentioned clearly on the screen.
Paragraph 3 – Messages on internet platforms under control of the advertiser
a) Advertising messages posted on an internet platform over which the advertiser has some degree of control, should comply with the Dutch Advertising Code, irrespective of who posts the advertising message.
b) If someone else than the advertiser posts an advertising message on the afore-mentioned internet platform:
– the advertiser must – in addition to Paragraph 3 sub a – also have made sure that the person who wants to place the advertising message is at least 18 years old, or;
– this person must have declared that he/she has reached the minimum age of 18 years.
c) In case the declaration under paragraph 3b, 2nd bullet, is missing and/or in case of doubt whether the person is at least 18 years old, the advertiser shall see to it that this person cannot post any messages. In case there is no selection or admission control possible for a certain internet platform, the advertiser should mention on a clearly visible spot that the content of and posting on that internet platform is exclusively intended for persons of 18 years and older.
Paragraph 4 – Messages distributed by the advertiser
In case of active internet marketing, where the receiving party can be selected such as with, but not limited to, advertising messages through email, posts on a social media account of someone else than the advertiser or direct marketing on the basis of digital profiles that are connected to a cookie, the following should be adhered to:
a) a minimum age of 18 years must be used as effective selection criterion, or another such selection criterion from which this minimum age follows, or;
b) the receiving party must have declared that he/she is at least 18 years old.
c) in case a declaration under sub 4b is missing, the advertiser shall make sure that no more than 25% of the minors is reached such as determined in Article 21.
Prior to advertising by the advertiser which consists of posting or responding to a message on a social media account of someone else than the advertiser, the advertiser must have made sure that the owner of this social media account is at least 18 years old. If this has not become clear or is not possible, posting a message is not allowed.
Explanation of Article 24
For this reason “liking” by the advertiser on posts, status, pictures or other messages of third parties or “retweeting” is not permitted at this moment, unless it can be demonstrated that the owner of the relevant social media account is at least 18 years old. The owner is for example an official account of a company or a generally well-known natural person. If it concerns a natural person who is generally not known, the advertiser should be able to reasonably determine, through information on his/her profile page, that it concerns a person who is 18 years or older.
Attention: in addition, obviously the instructions based on the legislation and regulation in the framework of privacy and data protection apply (at present e.g. the Personal Data Protection Act, the Telecommunication Act, the Distribution of Advertising by email Code), among which the consent requirement, supplying of and pointing out the possibility to unsubscribe and the duty of information disclosure, as far as is applicable.
Guidelines to Article 24 – Active Internet Marketing
All rules of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA) apply to advertising messages in the form of internet marketing and also to the content of third parties. For advertising messages in the form of active internet marketing, the extra requirements of paragraphs 2 through 5 are applicable.
By making use of the ‘demographic age restriction policy’ minors cannot see content that is not suitable for them. Be careful with linking content between Facebook and external pages, or with linking from the Facebook Apps-section from and towards your brand page. One should also be careful with using user generated content such as Youtube videos. Namely, Facebook is not able to check these videos on content and to filter them on age when these are shared from a brand page. In case of posts with image that are posted by the advertiser himself, the educational slogan should be mentioned clearly in the image.
Since recently it has become possible to make use of an age-check as a brand. This age-check must be used for at least any new followers. In case of tweets with image that are posted by the advertiser himself, the educational slogan should be mentioned clearly in the image. When you are not sure whether a tweet is coming from someone of 18 years and older, it is not desirable to retweet.
Other social media platforms
If the social media platform does not offer the possibility yet to exclude persons younger than 18 years old by means of an age-check or similar age check, it is sufficient to mention in the bio of the platform that the content is only intended for persons of 18 years and older. In case of pictures or other messages with image (through Pinterest), the educational slogan should be mentioned clearly in the image.
25. Internet sites
Internet sites of which the brand name or trade name of the alcoholic beverage is also part of the domain name, shall ask the visitors of this homepage at the entrance of this internet site or preceding to the first page of the internet site that is visited, by means of an age check, whether they have reached the age of 18 years. The age check should at least consist of filling in or clicking on the date of birth (day/month/year) of the visitor. Admission to the internet site (or subpage in case the visitor directly ends up there) shall only be permitted if the visitor indicates that he or she is of age at the time he or she completed the age check.
26. Catering industry promotions
The recommendation of alcoholic beverages by catering promotion teams may not be aimed at minors. This form of recommendation is not permitted in places where over more than twenty-five percent (25%) of the audience consists of minors at that point in time.
During catering industry promotions it is not permitted to offer alcoholic beverages free of charge.
During catering industry promotions it is not permitted to sell alcoholic beverages at less than 50% of the normal retail price. In addition no more than one drink per customer may be offered with a discount per promotion.
During catering industry promotions it is permitted to organize a tasting session.
Catering industry promotions shall be carried out by persons of 18 years or older.
Explanation of Article 26:
If a catering industry promotion consists of a tasting session, then:
– this tasting session may exclusively be held in a catering establishment that has a liquor license or at events which are exempt from the liquor license within the scope of Article 35 of the Liquor Act;
– solely the following portions are permitted: for hard liquor 2cl, for wine 5cl and for beer and cider 7,5cl;
– a person may taste a maximum 1unit of one brand of alcoholic beverage. If during a promotional campaign several varieties of one brand are being promoted, a person may taste a maximum of 3 units in total. If during a promotional campaign several brands of one variety are being promoted, a person may taste a maximum of 3 units in total. If during a promotional campaign several varieties are promoted, a person may taste a maximum of 3 units in total. In these cases, all alcoholic beverages to be tasted should be different ;
– it is not permitted to taste beer, wine or liquor at the same time;
– all members of the promotion team, if required dressed in the look & feel of the alcohol brand, should be at least 18 years old.
27. Tasting in a liquor store
The tasting of alcoholic beverages in a liquor store is permitted in accordance with Article 13 of the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act. In addition to the legal conditions, the conditions mentioned below in paragraphs 2 and 3 are applicable.
Promotional teams are explicitly not permitted to have consumers taste alcoholic beverages in a liquor store.
Promotional teams, if desired dressed in the look & feel of the alcohol brand, may – if the relevant licensed victualler grants permission for this – be present in a liquor store to provide product information and to bring the tasting under the attention. These promotions are carried out by persons of 18 years or older.
Guidelines to Article 27
Tasting in a liquor store is permitted and promotional teams possibly have a role in this. It is important to at least know that the Alcohol Licensing and Catering Act says that the tasting should take place on request of the customer, that only employees of the liquor store are allowed to pour something for the customer and of course that the minimum age of the people who want to taste something should be 18 years.
28. Outdoor advertising and advertising in cinemas
Advertising for alcoholic beverages is not permitted on billboards, swanks, bus shelters and illuminated street advertising columns that are in view of alcohol rehabilitation centres or educational centres that are attended primarily by minors, or along motorways or other ways outside built-up areas.
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not be shown in cinemas before children’s films, family films dubbed in Dutch and before children’s matinee films and school film programs. As to other films, advertisements for alcoholic beverages may only be shown if minors form no more than 25% of the audience.
29. Exhibitions and Guided tours
Visiting an exhibition or taking a guided tour in a brewery, distillery or winegrowing company is not permitted to persons under the age of 18, except if:
1. they are accompanied by an adult during the visit;
2. the exhibition or guided tour is predominantly aimed at the production process and/or workmanship and/or the connectedness with a city or region and focuses less on the recommendation of a certain brand of alcoholic beverage;
3. the on-the-spot consumption of alcoholic beverages should always take place in a space which is physically separated from the exhibition space or from spaces that are part of the guided tour, with the exception of tasting intermediary and/or end products of the brewing/distillation/fermentation process in small quantities and by way of explanation. All applicable laws and regulations, among which in particular those with regard to the age limits for providing alcoholic beverages, shall be complied with.
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not be displayed on an individual sportsman or sports team.
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not be displayed on vehicles and/or attributes that are used by the sportsman or sports team in their active practice of sports.
Individuals who actively perform sports at the highest senior international level (European or World Championships and Olympic Games) are not allowed to be hired by or on behalf of the advertiser for radio, cinema and television commercials and printed advertising messages that use staged situations with scripts. It is not allowed to portray such individuals on packages and labels either.
Advertising messages for alcoholic beverages may not portray the active practice of sports on packaging of alcoholic beverages.
It is permitted to portray active sports practice in advertising messages, but exclusively to portray the context of celebrating the performance afterwards.
Guidelines to Article 30 – Sports
Sportsmen are not allowed to drink alcoholic beverages during active sports. What is allowed, however, is to enjoy alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner after sports or during watching sports. In the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages this distinction between active sports and passive sports perception is a guideline for this Article. Boarding along sports fields where adult players are the main players is allowed, because this is aimed at the spectators and not at the players. So keep away from active sports perception and attributes that are used during sports. Also be reserved in only showing images of active sports performance; after all this leaves little room for adding the context of celebration.
Drinking after sports is permitted
What is permitted is the television commercial of Jupiler in which four men are active in the Mountains in an adventurous way and conclude this by a recreational game of soccer. After this they drink a beer together. The RCC was of the opinion that these people did not drink any alcohol before or during sports and that this advertising message was therefore not in conflict with the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA).
Also after a game, sportsmen are not allowed to wear any clothes with brand names on it
The RCC judged that the bathrobes with the Amstel logo on it, worn by players of FC Twente, were in conflict with the RvA. Despite the fact that the bathrobes were no part of the outfit in which the players played their game. The players could still be regarded as a a sports team during the wearing of these bathrobes.
During a specialized fair it is permitted to exhibitors to make buyers acquainted with their products. The conditions mentioned in the explanation of Article 26 do not apply here.
32. Tap installations
Members of the industry are not permitted to provide professional tap installations free of charge or for a symbolic fee at shows, events and festivities.
33. Educational slogan
In the case of advertising messages for alcoholic beverages that are broadcasted on television, in cinemas, theatres and closed-circuit television, every broadcast shall in any case contain the – clearly visible – educational slogan mentioned in paragraph 2.
Every advertising message for an alcoholic beverage should show an educational slogan ‘Geen 18, geen alcohol’. This slogan can be used in combination with ‘Geniet, maar drink met mate’.
All printed advertising messages as well as commercials for alcoholic beverages on internet sites and social network sites shall at least contain the educational slogan ‘Geen 18, geen alcohol’, such as mentioned in paragraph 2. Excluded are messages that are portrayed on the internet and that are no longer part of a current campaign.
For the purpose of promotional advertising in the retail channel, another slogan can be used than the educational slogan mentioned in paragraph 2. Before the first use of another slogan, permission should be obtained from the Code Contact Person for the retail trade and STIVA.
All advertising messages for alcoholic beverages in banner form should at least be provided with the educational slogan ‘Geen 18, geen alcohol’, such as mentioned in paragraph 2. This does not apply to banners equal to or smaller than 120 pixels wide and 60 pixels high.
Directives for showing the educational slogan in all forms of advertising mentioned in this article are included in the explanation of this article.
Explanation of Article 33
Showing the educational slogan ‘Geen 18, geen alcohol’ is obligatory in advertisements for alcoholic beverages broadcasted on television, in cinemas, in printed advertisements and in commercials on the internet. Here the following guidelines apply:
Printed advertising messages
Type of messages
The requirements for the use of the educational slogans ‘Geen 18, geen alcohol’ and ‘Geniet, maar drink met mate’ apply to the following printed advertising messages: advertising messages in newspapers, magazines, flyers and posters (including billboards, swanks, bus shelters and illuminated street advertising columns) in which an alcoholic beverage, brand or producer is the central point of attention.
Font of the slogan
Type size of the slogan
The size of the font depends on the size of the advertising message (width x height).
Should the paper size be smaller than A5, then the headline shall be of similar size as the body text of the advertisement. In case of a larger paper size, the following requirements for the type size of the slogan are applicable:
– A5 (210 x 148 mm): type size 9
– A4 (210 x 297 mm): type size 12
– A3 (420 x 297 mm): type size 16
– A2 (420 x 594 mm): type size 20
– A1 (841 x 594 mm): type size 24
– A0 (841 x 1189 mm): type size 30
– Bus shelters/Illuminated street advertising columns (1160 x 1710 mm): type size 150
In case of other paper sizes which are larger than A4, the type size of the slogan shall be defined by comparing the paper size with the closest standard size mentioned above.
Place of the slogan
The slogan has to be placed sufficiently separated from the laid-out body text and in a horizontal direction, so as to attract sufficient attention.
Lay-out of the slogan
The slogan shall be clearly distinguishable against the background colour with as much positive (black) and negative (white) as possible.
Commercials on TV, in cinemas and on the internet
Font of the slogan
Type size of the slogan
If the screen ratio is 16:9, which is the standard wide-screen ratio, the type size of the educational slogan shall be 26.
Duration of the slogan
The slogan shall be visible for at least 5 seconds. In tag-ons and tag-forwards the educational slogan shall be visible for 5 seconds as well. If the tag-on or tag-forward is shorter than 5 seconds, then the slogan has to be visible for the entire duration of the message.
Place of the slogan
The slogan shall be placed horizontally at the bottom of the screen in the ‘title safe area’ (or ‘text safe’).
Lay-out of the slogan
The slogan shall be clearly distinguishable from the background colour with as much positive (black) or negative (white) as possible.
Timing of the slogan
The slogan shall not be visible simultaneously with a pack-shot, disclaimer or pay-off. Furthermore, the slogan has to be placed sufficiently separated from the laid-out body text, so as to attract sufficient attention.
Banners on the internet
Type of messages
The requirements for the use of the educational slogans ‘Geen 18, geen alcohol’ and ‘Geniet, maar drink met mate’ apply to all types of banners. This does not apply to banners that are equal to or smaller than 120 pixels wide and 60 pixels high.
Font of the slogan
Type size of the slogan
Type size 11
Place of the slogan
The slogan shall be placed sufficiently separated from the laid-out body text and shall be placed horizontally, so as to attract sufficient attention.
The slogan shall be clearly distinguishable from the background colour with as much positive (black) or negative (white) as possible
34. Retail and catering industry alert
If a packaging of alcoholic beverage, according to a final decision of the Stichting Reclame Code (Advertising Code Foundation), has been found in breach of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA), STIVA will undertake the below-mentioned successive actions:
- Get in touch with the producer
- Get in touch with the importer (if applicable)
- If, within 3 months, no action is taken upon the judgment, STIVA can give out a so-called ‘retail alert’. This means that STIVA gives a warning to the relevant branch organisations of supermarkets, licensed victuallers and catering facilities that the packaging concerned is in breach of the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (RvA).