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Portman Group releases revised Code of Practice

Published:  23 July, 2008

UK: The drink industry's social responsibility watchdog tightens up sponsorship and advertising rules.

Changes to the 4th edition of the Portman Group's Code of Practice include a ban on alcohol branding on children's replica sports shirts under sponsorship agreements signed after January 1 2008.

The other rule prevents producers from using their marketing to urge consumers to drink rapidly or down their drinks in one.

David Poley, Portman Group chief executive, said: "No drinks company ever sets out to communicate to children. It's right that producers have decided to close the door on this unintended consequence of sports sponsorship.

"Only consumers can determine how they drink but producers should not be promoting any potentially harmful drinking style.

"Our website gives guidance on how we expect the rapid drinking rule to be interpreted by the Independent Complaints Panel. In addition to the mandatory requirements set out in the Code, we have a new section giving best practice advice. This covers the use of website age verification pages, unit labelling and the promotion of drinkaware."

The new rules were first announced last summer, giving drink companies six months to adjust their marketing accordingly.