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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, where consumption by several people is shown, suggested or stimulated (for example by means of straws). Showing a pitcher is exclusively permitted in the context that the pitcher is poured into several glasses. Showing large packages such as a crate of beer or a large (magnum) bottle of wine/champagne is in principle permitted, unless it is obvious that the contents of these packages will only be consumed by one person.  

Honors at sports events, for example, where a magnum bottle of champagne, wine or beer is used, are permitted. However, in this setting it should be abundantly clear that these magnums are intended to be used at the moment of celebration of a sports achievement and are aimed at the spectator and not at the consumption of the athlete. It is not permitted to use a disproportionate glass of beer, wine or spirits during a ceremony, because this could suggest that the athlete in question will/may drink it.

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).