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This Marketing Code of Conduct for Commercial Communications has been adapted from the European Forum of Responsible Drinking (EFRD) Common Standards for Commercial Communications and has been approved by all member companies of the Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum (TBAF). The purpose of this code is to achieve a high level of self compliance in Taiwan. The code does not replace relevant national laws or codes but represents a common basis for application by TBAF members.
The EFRD’s Common Standards for Commercial Communications are based on the guidelines developed in 1994 by The Amsterdam Group (TAG) and revised by EFRD in July 2010. The guidelines reflect many of the issues addressed by the European Council of Ministers in their 2001 “Recommendation on the Drinking of Alcohol by Young People, in particular Children and Adolescents”.
Purpose of the Code
TBAF recognizes that the responsible promotion of alcoholic beverages is in the interests of the industry and society as a whole. All alcoholic drinks, including beer, whisky, wine, distilled spirits, and all other forms of beverage alcohol selling in Taiwan should only be promoted in a socially responsible manner to adults who are over the age of 18 years; as per the national legal purchase age. This code applies to all kinds of commercial communications by alcohol companies and the purpose of the code is to ensure alcoholic beverage sales and marketing communications do not encourage any form of irresponsible drinking behavior.
The attached code, endorsed by TBAF members, is intended to be a set of common standards for implementation throughout the alcoholic beverages industry of Taiwan.
Commercial Communications are defined herein as: ”All brand advertising or marketing communications to consumers, regardless of the medium used (e.g. print, broadcast media, outdoor, labeling, packaging, internet, new technologies and sponsorship) and including consumer and trade promotions, merchandising and point of sale materials.”
Commercial Communications do not include:
Commercial Communications should:
1.1. Commercial Communications should not encourage excessive or irresponsible consumption, nor present abstinence or moderation in any negative way.
1.2. Commercial Communications should not show people who appear to be drunk or in any way imply that drunkenness is acceptable.
1.3. Commercial Communications should not suggest any association with violent, aggressive, illegal, dangerous or anti-social behavior.
1.4. Commercial Communications should not suggest any association with, acceptance of, or allusion to drug culture or illicit drugs.
1.5. A responsible drinking message should be included in all print, TV, Cinema, outdoor advertising and on company and brand websites. The responsible drinking message must be clearly legible and noticeable on all advertisements and websites.
2.1. Commercial Communications should not be aimed at minors or show minors consuming alcoholic beverages.
2.2. Commercial Communications should only promote alcoholic beverages in the media and at events where the majority of the audience is reasonably expected to be aged 18 years or older. They should not promote alcoholic beverages in the media or at events where the majority of the audience is known or reasonably expected to be under the legal drinking age.
2.3. Commercial Communications will only use models and actors who are at least of legal drinking age, i.e.18 years or above.
2.4. Commercial Communications should not use objects, figures, symbols, colors and cartoon figures of primary appeal to children or adolescents.
2.5. Commercial Communications should not use brand identification such as names, logos, games, game equipment or other items of primary appeal to minors.
2.6. Commercial Communications should not target elementary, junior and senior high-schools.
Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is acceptable before or whilst driving motor vehicles of any kind, including motor cycles, speed boats, jet-skis, snow-mobiles and airplanes.
4. Workplace: Operating Machinery, Recreation & Workplace
Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is acceptable before or whilst operating potentially dangerous machinery, or while undertaking any potentially hazardous recreational or work-related activity.
5. Health Aspects
5.1. Commercial Communications should not claim that alcoholic beverages may have therapeutic properties and that their consumption may help prevent, treat or cure any human disease or specific symptoms.
5.2. Where permitted by law, Commercial Communications using truthful and accurate factual statements about carbohydrate, calories or other nutritional content may be appropriate in some circumstances.
Commercial Communication should not show pregnant women drinking or target women who are pregnant. Sensible drinking information for women in pregnancy could be provided on labels.
7. Alcohol Content
7.1. Commercial Communications should not create any confusion as to the nature and strength of alcoholic beverages.
7.2. Commercial Communications may present information for consumers on alcoholic strength but should not emphasize high alcoholic strength as a dominant theme. On the other hand, messages may not imply that consuming beverages of low alcohol content will avoid abuse.
Commercial Communications should not create the impression that consumption of alcoholic beverages may enhance mental ability or physical performance or have an energizing effect, e.g. when engaging in activities requiring concentration in order to be safely executed.
9. Social/Sexual Aspects
9.1. Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is a requirement for social acceptance or success.
9.2. Under no circumstances should Commercial Communications be unethical, offend against generally prevailing standards of taste and decency or otherwise impugn human dignity and integrity.
9.3. Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages enhances sexual capabilities, attractiveness or lead to sexual relations.
10. Sampling Events and Tastings
10.1. This code also applies to sampling events and tastings, i.e. not sampling to minors, intoxicated persons, or where people are potentially participating in risky or dangerous activity or where they potentially engage in anti-social behavior.
10.2. Complimentary sampling to members of the public in public places including licensed and private premises, trade fairs or other occasions must be in accordance with local regulations.
10.3. Alcohol beverage companies must ensure that their promotion teams abide by this marketing code of conduct. A training tool could be used to run sessions with such teams before they go on tour or to adapt the tool according to the needs of the organization wanting to conduct a sampling event or tasting.
The value of any free gift or prize offered to a consumer as a premium must comply with the relevant national laws and codes.
A body will be appointed by the members of the Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum to investigate and adjudicate on complaints made against members, either coming from within the membership or from the general public, with regards to adherence to this self regulatory Marketing Code of Conduct.
Annexes and References
The following guidelines for responsible promotions are an integral part of the Marketing Code of Conduct for Commercial Communications. They apply in addition to the code and should therefore be read in conjunction:
1. Point of Sales promotions
Promotional activities for alcoholic beverages can only take place in a responsible manner and these guidelines are fully understood and must be communicated widely in sectors such as: retail channels, hospitality venues, tourism boards, educational bodies and institutes of the food service industry, promotion agencies and suppliers, events producers and organizers.
2. Digital and Non-Traditional Media
Internet based digital activity is a common channel for commercial communications including websites, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, banner ads, email and SMS, etc. Commercial Communications on the internet represent an area that is still in an evolutionary development where new trends may occur rapidly. This code will therefore be reviewed continuously and when necessary.
Alcoholic beverage producers and distributors should treat sponsorship with the same due diligence and respect for maintenance of the high standards of responsibility that are applied to all other marketing disciplines. They should only be engaged in sponsorship agreements where the majority of the audience is reasonably expected to be aged 18 years or older. Appropriate responsible drinking reminders or warning phrases must be included in all sponsorship activities and printed materials.
4. Naming, packaging and labeling
The naming, packaging and labeling of beverage alcohol products manufactured and distributed by TBAF members must not use words in any way which may cause confusion with existing popular non-alcoholic drinks. The alcoholic nature of a drink must be communicated on its packaging with absolute clarity and must comply fully with existing legislation on all items.