Get Prepared

Alcohol and marketing companies have developed their own Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol. The Code contains a set of guidelines for all alcohol advertisements in NZ.

There is also a law around irresponsible promotion of alcohol. This relates to the promotion of excessive drinking as well as advertising/promotions that appeal to minors. Click below to read more. 

The NZ Advertising Standards Authority

The Advertising Standards Authoriy, or ASA, is a voluntary group comprising advertisers, communication agencies, and media organisations in New Zealand.

Factsheet on the Advertising Standards Authority

The ASA Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol

The ASA has developed the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol which provides the standards by which all alcohol advertisements in New Zealand should comply.

The Code is mostly concerned with the content of marketing, aiming to ensure that advertising is “responsible” and protects children and young people to some degree.

The Code applies to the advertising and promotion for alcoholic drinks to be broadcasted / published in New Zealand and includes all products with an alcohol strength above 1.15% by volume.

The Code is designed to ensure that alcohol advertising and promotion is consistent with the need for responsibility and moderation in merchandising and consumption, and does not encourage consumption by minors.

There are four principles in the ASA code for advertising and promotion, please click here.

Most forms of advertising are included in the Code, including magazines, newspapers, television, cinema, outdoor advertising, radio, word of mouth marketing, advergaming, website, and emails. It also includes user-generated content such as that found on Facebook, etc.

No alcohol ads on TV between 6:00am and 8:30pm

The ASA Code also limits the amount of exposure of alcohol advertising on television. The Code requires that no alcohol advertisements are permitted to be broadcast between 6:00am and 8:30pm. No such limits are required in other media (e.g. radio, internet) and the time restrictions do not apply to sponsorship advertisements.

There are other limits on exposure in the Code. For example, alcohol promotions and sponsorship must not give the impression of dominating the viewing or listening period. In addition, television alcohol advertising must not exceed six minutes per hour, and there must be no more than two advertisements for alcohol in a single commercial break.

Alcohol sponsorship

The Code (Principle 4) addresses the standards for alcohol sponsorship. For example, the sponsorship should not be undertaken for events where minors (<18 years) are likely to comprise more than 25% of the participants, or spectators. 

If any person believes that an advertisement or sponsorship is in breach of the Code, a complaint can be made to the ASA.

Complaints regarding breaches to the Code

The ASA deals with all complaints.

There is no independent or Government body which takes complaints relating to the Code. This means that New Zealand has a system of self-regulation – the ASA develops the Code and makes the decisions relating to complaints.

Limited penalties if advertisement is found to breach the Code

If an advertisement or sponsorship is found to breach the Code, the only penalty is that the advertisement must be removed.

This means that an advertisement may have been running for many months before a complaint is laid and a decision on any breach is made. The impact of the advertisement or promotion is largely done by then.

There are no criminal or financial penalties unless, in some cases, the broadcaster does not comply with the requirements.

This type of self-regulation of alcohol advertising has been consistently shown in research to be insufficient to reduce the harmful exposure to alcohol advertising.

The new liquor laws (the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act 2012) include a section which addresses irresponsible promotion. This is the main piece of legislation which is available to address advertising which is socially irresponsible.

The section of the law addresses advertising and promotion of alcohol which does any of the following:

  • encourages people, or is likely to encourage people, to consume alcohol to an excessive extent
  • leads people to believe that alcohol is heavily discounted or free of charge
  • offers goods and services or the opportunity to win a prize on the condition that alcohol is bought
  • aims at, or that has, or is likely to have, special appeal to minors.

This section covers anyone who advertises alcohol - an individual person, a media company, a licensed premises, an alcohol company, etc.

Complaints in relation to this can be forwarded to the Police.

For more information on Irresponsible Promotion, click here to read the relevant section of this website.