Ireland’s drinks industry has pledged to adopt the first-ever industry-wide set of global standards for influencer marketing, under a new partnership aimed at further concrete steps towards tackling alcohol misuse and underage drinking.
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 advertising, public relations, and influencer agencies, will help ensure alcohol marketing by social influencers is clearly recognised, responsibly advertised, and aimed at an audience over the legal purchase age.
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.
Patricia Callan, director of Drinks Ireland, which represents Irish drinks manufactures and suppliers and is a member of IARD, commented, “We are delighted to be part of this world-first initiative, which will offer more transparency and give those at the heart of content creation the correct tools to safeguard their content."
"In Ireland, we have some of the strictest rules in the world for advertising alcohol, including around the use of influencers, and this pledge will help further strengthen protections online," she added.
As well as the pledge, the move to formalise 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
Strong Progress Made
According to the group, here has been strong progress in Ireland in tackling alcohol misuse and underage drinking.
Callan noted that in 2020, alcohol consumption was 29.8% lower than the peak of 2001.
"Separately, a Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) survey by the WHO found that Irish 10-17 year olds who reported having ever been drunk declined by 19% between 1998 and 2018, to 18.3%, and we have a very low level of underage drinking compared with other countries,” she said.
This pledge 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.