Marketing Code of Conduct for Commercial Communications of Alcoholic Beverages in Taiwan


This code is adapted from EFRD Common Standards for Commercial Communications which has been approved by all member companies of Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum (TBAF). The purpose of this code is to achieve a high level of compliance in Taiwan. The code does not replace relevant national laws or codes but represents a common basis for application.

The Common Standards for Commercial Communications are based in the guidelines developed in 1994 by The Amsterdam Group (TAG) and revised by the European Forum of Responsible Drinking (EFRD) again in July 2010. The guidelines reflect many of the issues addressed by the European Council of Ministers in the 2001 “Recommendation on the Drinking of Alcohol by Young People, in particular Children and Adolescents”.

Purpose of these Standards

Taiwan Beverage Alcohol Forum 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, spirit, and all other forms of beverage alcohol selling and producing here in the island, should only be promoted in a socially responsible manner to those who are over 18s; where national legal purchase age requires. The guidelines apply to all kind commercial communications of alcohol companies and the purpose of the guidelines is to ensure alcohol sales and marketing communications do not encourage consumer in any kind of irresponsible drinking manner.

The attached Standards endorsed by the Taiwanese alcoholic beverages industry are intended to be common standards for implementation throughout the industry of alcoholic beverages.

Commercial Communications

Commercial Communications are defined herein as: "All brand advertising or marketing communications to consumers, regardless of the medium used (e.g. print, broadcast media, labeling, packaging, internet, new technologies and sponsorship) and including consumer and trade promotion, merchandising and point of sale material."

Commercial Communications do not include:

  • Non-advertising materials or statements to the media, government agencies or the public about issues of societal concern such as the risks or benefits related to the consumption of beverages and educational messages about responsible drinking or the role of alcohol in society.
Basic Principles

Commercial Communications should:

  • Be legal, decent, honest and truthful and conform to accepted principles of fair competition and good business practice;
  • Demonstrate a strong sense of social responsibility and be based on principles of fairness and good faith;
  • Not in any circumstances be unethical or otherwise impugn human dignity and integrity.
  1. Misuse
    1. Commercial Communications should not encourage excessive or irresponsible consumption, nor present abstinence or moderation in any negative way.
    2. Commercial Communications should not show people who appear to be drunk or in any way imply that drunkenness is acceptable.
    3. Commercial Communications should not suggest any association with violent, aggressive, illegal, dangerous or antisocial behavior.
    4. Commercial Communications should not suggest any association with, acceptance of, or allusion to drug culture or illicit drugs.
    5. A responsible drinking message should be included in all print, TV, Cinema advertising and on company & brand websites. The responsible drinking message must be clearly legible and noticeable on all the advertisements including websites.
  2. Minors
    1. Commercial Communications should not be aimed at minors nor show minors consuming alcoholic beverages.
    2. Commercial Communications should only promote alcoholic beverages in media, or at events where majority of the audience is reasonably expected to be aged 18 years or older. They should not promote alcoholic beverages in media, or at events where majority of the audience is known or reasonably expected to be underage.
    3. Commercial Communications will only use models and actors who are at least of legal drinking age, i.e.18 years or above.
    4. Commercial Communications should not use objects, figures, symbols, colors, and cartoon figures of primary appeal to children or adolescents.
    5. Commercial Communications should not use brand identification such as names, logos, games, game equipment or other items of primary appeal to minors.
    6. Commercial Communications advertisement should not target any elementary, junior and senior high-school.
  3. Driving

    Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is acceptable before or whilst driving motor vehicles of any kind, including 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
    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.
    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.
  6. Pregnancy

    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
    1. Commercial Communications should not create any confusion as to the nature and strength of alcoholic beverages.
    2. Commercial Communications may present information for consumers on alcoholic strength but should not emphasize high alcoholic strength as a dominant theme in any brand communications materials. On the other hand, messages may not imply that consuming beverages of low alcohol content will avoid abuse.
  8. Performance

    Commercial Communications should not create the impression that consumption of beverages enhances mental ability or physical performance or has an energizing effect, e.g. when engaging in activities requiring concentration in order to be safely executed.

  9. Social/Sexual Aspects
    1. Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages is a requirement for social acceptance or success.
    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.
    3. Commercial Communications should not suggest that the consumption of alcoholic beverages enhances sexual capabilities, attractiveness or leads to sexual relations.
  10. Sampling/tasting
    1. Common Standards and guidelines as per this code also apply to sampling/ tasting, 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 etc.
    2. Complimentary sampling to members of the public in public place including licensed or private premises, trade fairs or occasions must be in accordance with local regulations.
    3. Ensure the promotion teams are sticking to the rules; a training tool could be widely used to run sessions with such teams before they go on tour or to adapt the tool according to the needs by the organization wanting to conduct it.
  11. Premium

    The value of any free gift or prize offered to consumer as a premium must comply in accordance with the relevant national laws or codes.

  12. Compliance

    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 code of conduct.

Annexes and References

These guidelines for responsible promotions are an integral part of the Common Standards for Commercial Communications. They apply in addition to the Common Standards and should therefore be read in conjunction.

  1. Point of Sales promotions

    Promotional activities of beverages can only take place at responsible manner and these guidelines are fully understood and communicated widely in sectors such as: retail, hospitality venue, 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 in commercial communications that includes website, blog, Twitter, Facebook, Plurk, banner ad, email and SMS, etc. Commercial Communications on the internet represent an area that is still in an evolutionary development where new trends may occur rather rapidly. These guidelines will therefore be reviewed continuously and when necessary.

  3. Sponsorship

    Alcohol producer/distributor should treat sponsorship with the same due diligence and respect for maintenance of the high standards of responsibility that they apply to all other marketing disciplines. Should only be engaged in sponsorship agreements where majority of the audience is reasonably expected to be aged 18 years or older. Appropriate responsible drinking reminders or warning phrase must be included in all sponsorship activities and print 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-alcohol 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. Standard Drink unitary labeling supported by government recommended daily guidelines.

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