Advertising Association Scotland IPA

Ad Association, Isba & IPA call for ‘fundamental rethink’ of Scottish alcohol ad ban plan


By Hannah Bowler, Senior Reporter

March 9, 2023 | 3 min read

The advertising trade bodies have come together in protest as the Scottish government closes its four-month consultation regarding an alcohol ad ban.

Scottish Whiskey brands at risk of advertising restrictions

Scottish Whisky brands at risk of advertising restrictions / Pexels

In November, the Scottish Government opened a consultation to seek views on whether to place strict restrictions on alcohol advertising and marketing. The consultation closed today (March 9), with advertising organizations the Advertising Association, Isba and the IPA registering a final condemnation.

A joint statement from the groups reads: “We stand together and publicly reject the Scottish government’s proposals to introduce swingeing alcohol advertising and marketing bans. While we understand the government’s desire to reduce alcohol consumption harms in Scotland, there is no evidence that advertising bans will achieve that aim.”

The national ad trade bodies were joined in their statement by the Marketing Society Scotland, the British Promotional Merchandise Association, the Cinema Advertising Association, the UK Cinema Association, the Scottish Newspaper Society and Outsmart.

According to the trade bodies, the government proposals will “fail” to address the problem and instead cause harm to the Scottish economy. Sectors at risk, claims the statement, include Scotland’s advertising and creative industries, as well as publishers, broadcasters and cinemas, in addition to the outdoor advertising sector.

“At the end of the day, we are talking about an impact on Scottish businesses, Scottish jobs and Scottish communities for no discernible benefit. We call for a fundamental rethink of the proposals with a focus on targeted and practical policies that will facilitate behavior change without damaging the Scottish economy and the advertising and creative industries that are important to entrepreneurial Scotland that the Scottish government wants to see.”

Managing director at creative agency Thirst, Chris Black, previously wrote in The Drum that the proposed ad ban is an ”act of economic self-harm” and also claimed the policy would do very little to help Scottish health.

Advertising Association Scotland IPA

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