3. Guidelines around alcohol sponsorship

Best practice

In 2014, a Ministerial Forum was tasked to review alcohol sponsorship in New Zealand. They recommended the following in their report:

  • Ban alcohol sponsorship of all streamed and broadcast sports.
  • Ban on alcohol sponsorship of sport (long-term).
  • Ban alcohol sponsorship (naming rights) at all venues.
  • Ban alcohol sponsorship of cultural and music events where 10% or more of participants and audiences younger than 18.
  • Introduce a sponsorship replacement funding programme.
  • Introduce a targeted programme to reduce reliance on alcohol sponsorship funding.

Read more about the harm from sponsorship in the Advertising and Sponsorship section.

Many other countries are equally concerned about alcohol sponsorship of sporting events and clubs. In France, no sponsorship is permitted of sporting teams or events.

The situation in New Zealand

New Zealand's ASA Code for Alcohol Advertising has the following 'rules' for alcohol sponsorship:

Principle 3 Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion must target Adults and primarily promote the Sponsored Party.

Rule 3 (a) Targeting Adults
Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion must target Adult audiences.

1. Sponsored Parties who are also individuals, groups or teams, including, but not limited to, cultural and sporting heroes or icons, celebrities and social media influencers that are currently popular* with Minors and/or have particular appeal to* Minors, may be used in Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising 
and Promotion providing all the requirements set out in Rules 3 (a) and (b) of this Code are met.

* Consumer research by Alcohol Advertisers may be appropriate to determine who or what is ‘currently popular’ or has ‘particular appeal’.

2. To ensure Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion targets Adults, Alcohol Advertisers should not engage in Sponsorship Agreements unless Adults are at least 80% or more of the estimated participants or spectators.

3. Alcohol Advertisers may only permit Sponsored Parties to feature Alcohol branding on adult-size clothing and accessories.

4. Alcohol Advertisers must not feature Alcohol branding on any promotional material that is primarily appealing to, or is likely to be distributed to, Minors.

5. Placement
Advertisers must be able to demonstrate they have used appropriate tools and/or have taken care in evaluating audience composition to select and target Adult audiences prior to the placement of Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion.

Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion may be placed in:
i. age-restricted media when appropriate tools are used to select Adult audiences and/or access is restricted to Adults only; or
ii. any media only when recognised industry standard audience composition data are available and 80% or more of the expected average audience are Adults; or iii. places/premises only when the expected average audience are or are likely to be 80% or more Adults.

6. Out of home
In addition to Guideline 5 above, Advertisers must not place Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion on fixed sites within a 300-metre sightline of the main entrance to a primary, intermediate or secondary school.

Rule 3 (b) Content
Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion must only feature the Alcohol Advertiser and the sponsorship in a subordinate manner.

1. Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion must not:
i. contain a direct or implied sales message;
ii. show Alcohol or the product label or packaging;
iii. imitate or use any parts of Alcohol Advertising or Promotion from any media;
iv. portray consumption of Alcohol;
v. state or imply therapeutic, health benefit, mental or physical enhancement or weight claims;
vi. include Minors;
vii. include women who are visibly pregnant or seen breastfeeding.

2. Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion must:
i. only mention or portray the Alcohol Advertiser’s name and/or brand name and/or logo, orally and/or visually, briefly and in a subordinate manner and, as a guide, 15% of the space/time available. It may not always be possible to apply the 15% guide, and consideration will be given to the overall look and feel of the advertising.
ii. focus on the clear association between the Alcohol Advertiser and the Sponsored Party. Examples of words that may appear in Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion that indicate an Alcohol Sponsorship Agreement include, but are not limited to:
a) proud sponsors/supporters of
b) official sponsor/supporter of
c) official partner of

3. For the avoidance of doubt, Alcohol Sponsorship Advertising and Promotion that does not comply with Rule 3 (b) will be deemed to be Alcohol Advertising and Promotion. Principles 1 and 2 of this Code, and the accompanying Rules and Guidelines will therefore apply.