First global standards to ensure responsible marketing of alcohol by social influencers (Sept 2021)

  • The world’s leading beer, wine, and spirits producers and global advertising, public relations, and influencer agencies have joined forces to establish common standards to prevent influencer marketing reaching minors

  • The joint pledge, the first of its kind in any industry, recognizes the importance of transparency and gives clear guidance on how to market alcohol responsibly

  • The new standards, which build on producers’ existing digital marketing
    commitments, will apply to all influencers working with the leading agencies, delivering positive impact across the wider alcohol sector

Influencers working with some of the world’s most iconic brands will be subject to the first-ever industry-wide set of global standards for influencer marketing, under a new partnership aimed at further concrete steps towards preventing minors from seeing alcohol marketing online, and reducing harmful drinking among adults.
The global initiative launched by International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), whose members are the leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers, in partnership with 13 leading advertising, public relations, and influencer agencies, will help ensure alcohol marketing by social influencers is clearly recognized, responsibly advertised, and aimed at an audience over the legal purchase age. Influencer marketing across all sectors is predicted to grow to $13.8 billion by end 2021*.

Under the pledge, producers and advertisers commit to conducting diligence on influencers used, to using age-affirmation technology on platforms where available, and to promoting better understanding of responsible alcohol consumption, for those who choose to drink.

As well as the pledge, the move to formalize safeguards for influencer marketing includes:

  • A set of five specific safeguards that apply to any content involving influencers who work with the leading beer, wine, and spirits producers.

  • Tools and videos that support all alcohol brands and influencers to follow robust responsible marketing practices when creating content

  • Clear commitments to market responsibly, including not making health claims, promoting illegal or excessive consumption, or positioning abstinence negatively

This work builds on ongoing actions by IARD members to implement safeguards for alcohol advertising online, including the Digital Guiding Principles and partnerships with YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat to improve age screening, enabling users to opt out of alcohol marketing, and allowing content creators to age-gate posts.
Albert Baladi, President and CEO of Beam Suntory and Chair of IARD CEO Group, said:
“This partnership reflects the significant work that IARD members have already undertaken and the shared determination with the world’s leading advertising, public relations, and influencer agencies to do even more to prevent minors from seeing alcohol advertising online.
“These standards directly address some of the biggest concerns facing the marketing community right now. 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 help ensure that these posts do not reach minors or encourage any kind of irresponsible consumption.”

Henry Ashworth, IARD President and CEO, said:
“This is a world-first initiative in raising collective standards of responsibility across multiple digital channels, and we call on our partners in the alcohol, advertising, and influencer industries to join us in our ongoing work to ensure that alcohol marketing across all forms of media is responsible.
“This is a major step towards preventing minors from seeing alcohol marketing and IARD is proud to have united the world’s leading agencies to help raise global standards.”

Notes to Editors:
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* Influencer Marketing Industry is set to grow to approximately $13.8 Billion in 2021, from the Influencer Marketing Hub Benchmark Report 2021, page 9.

  1. The Influencer Guiding Principles followed by IARD members can be found here.

  2. The supporting how-to video for influencers can be viewed here. Stills and a short version of the video are available on request.

  3. Additional quote from Will Gilroy, Director of Policy & Communications, World Federation of Advertisers:

“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. WFA research shows how 60% of marketers believe influencer marketing will become more important for their organization in the coming years. Consequently, the application of general marketing codes to influencers and specific sectoral initiatives like the IARD Influencer Guiding Principles are critical to ensuring credible and robust ad standards continue to evolve with the evolution of emerging marketing channels.”

  1. The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to reducing harmful drinking and promoting understanding of responsible drinking. We are supported by the leading global beer, wine, and spirits producers, who have come together for a common purpose: to be part of the solution in combating harmful drinking. To advance this shared mission, IARD works and partners with public sector, civil society, and private stakeholders.

The coalition of organizations supporting the pledge:
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