Creativity flows amid promo rules

Drinks firms launch more ‘imaginative and inspiring’ campaigns


MARKETING activity for drinks brands has become “more imaginative and inspiring” in the wake of tighter controls on alcohol promotions.
Sharon Reid, marketing controller for Martini and Bombay Sapphire at Bacardi-Martini, told SLTN that producers and distributors have had to “work harder to be more creative” to ensure marketing campaigns and on-trade sampling activity comply with regulations.
Beyond the rules governing alcohol advertising, the 2005 licensing Act brought restrictions on alcohol promotions in bars. These include a ban on the offer of an alcoholic drink free or at a reduced price on the purchase of one drink, deals which encourage consumers to buy a larger measure of alcohol than they had originally intended, and promotions that offer alcohol as a reward or prize, unless it’s in a sealed container for consumption off the premises.
Reid said Bacardi-Martini had put social responsibility at the heart of its marketing activity.
“I think these challenges make you work harder to be more creative, resulting in imaginative and inspiring campaigns,” she said.
“Drinks company staff should certainly lead by example when it comes to alcohol legislation, but this is something that has always been a way of life for Bacardi-Martini staff.
“The initial step is to ensure sampling activity is carried out in an appropriate outlet. Bacardi-Martini uses trained staff who adhere to set guidelines, such as ensuring only one sample per customer.”
Mark Baird, head of corporate social responsibility at Diageo GB, said watchdog The Portman Group has done a “great job” regulating the industry’s advertising and promotional activities, to the point that just five complaints against alcohol marketing were received last year and two of those upheld – an all-time low.
“At Diageo, we ensure that all relevant staff are fully briefed on legislative changes as and when they occur to ensure all of our promotional and sales activities comply fully with both the letter and spirit of the legislation,” he said.
“As an organisation which operates UK-wide, differing legislation north and south of the border obviously brings challenges and further complexity and, with it, additional costs of operation.
“However, we fully support the original intentions behind the five licensing objectives and share the government’s ambition to reduce alcohol misuse and harm in Scotland.”

(Image: A new marketing campaign for Gordon’s gin, featuring TV, outdoor and radio ads, launches this month.)