Alcohol advertising: what you can and cannot do?
Although alcohol advertising is allowed in France, it is highly regulated: spirits cannot be promoted on all media and the visuals used must meet certain standards. Find out everything you need to know before advertising alcohol in France.
Article Summary: Alcohol advertising - what you can and cannot do?
- Loi Evin and regulation of alcohol advertising
- Advertising media that can be used to advertise alcohol
- Advertising media that cannot be used to advertise alcohol
- Advertising alcohol: what is permitted and what is prohibited
- Legal statement to be included in an advertisement for alcohol
- Who validates the visuals of alcohol advertising campaigns?
Loi Evin and regulation of alcohol advertising
Alcohol advertising is regulated in France by the Evin law and more precisely by the law n° 91-32 of January 10, 1991 relating to the fight against smoking and alcoholism. Advertising for promotional purposes of alcoholic beverages is authorized provided that it does not incite the public to consume them.
Advertising media that can be used to advertise alcohol
The Evin law defines, among others, the media authorized to broadcast advertisements to promote alcoholic beverages:
- written press, except for magazines intended for children
- radio ads, but only at times determined by decree of the Conseil d'État (Council of State): which corresponds to times when children are not likely to be listening
- les billboards
- postal tracts, catalogs and brochures
- Internet sites that are not intended for minors or related to sports
Advertising media that cannot be used to advertise alcohol
Thus, all the advertising media that are not mentioned by the Evin law cannot be used as advertising media to promote liquors. Advertising of alcohol is thus forbidden :
- on television
- in the cinema
- in the youth press
- on websites aimed at minors
- on websites related to sports
Advertising alcohol: what is permitted and what is prohibited
It is possible to advertise alcoholic beverages:
- in order to promote traditional festivals and fairs dedicated to local drinks
- in order to promote museums, universities, brotherhoods or oenological initiation courses
Nonetheless, there are limits to what advertisers can do, especially regarding the realization of indirect advertising or propaganda in favor of alcohol, such as the reference to a drink through the use of a graphic, presentation, denomination, brand or other sign that recalls an alcoholic beverage.
In January 2023, the Judicial Court of Paris ordered Instagram and the META group to remove 37 publications that illicitly promote alcohol. The association Addiction France explains in a press release that "influencers push alcohol consumption by associating the product(s) presented with their positive image."
Source : Addiction France
Returning to advertising, the visuals of a campaign for an alcoholic beverage or an alcohol-related event must not incite people to consume. A poster showing a glass of wine in order to promote a wine fair is allowed, but having a hand holding a glass is considered to be incitement to drink and is therefore not accepted. This is what the Club des Vignerons Lauréats found with their posters created to promote their wine show.
Legal statement to be included in an advertisement for alcohol
All advertisements promoting alcoholic beverages must include a preventive health message, regardless of the media used: “L’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé” ("Alcohol abuse is dangerous for your health").
Who validates the visuals of alcohol advertising campaigns?
There is no specialized organization to validate the visuals or texts of alcohol ads. Therefore, it is the advertising agencies, more precisely the legal departments, that are in charge of these validations.