Review of the Alcohol Sponsorship Guidlines for Scotland

The review evaluated knowledge of, and compliance with, the Alcohol Sponsorhsip Guidelines for Scotland, with a focus on identifying best practice and examining whether there is a need to enhance and improve the Guidelines to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

5 Recommendations

5.1 This chapter sets out recommendations flowing from the review regarding both the Sponsorship Guidelines and the wider environment within which these sit.

The Sponsorship Guidelines

5.2 The table below sets out recommendations in respect of each of the individual components of the Guidelines.

Core principle/element Recommendations
'As an integral part of each new sponsorship, the sponsor will make a recognisable commitment to activities or events that promote responsible drinking or support diversionary/community activities'
SGAIP should consider adding to the Guidelines some case studies to illustrate what is meant by a 'recognisable commitment' in this context, particularly in relation to diversionary and community activities. The examples should span a range of commitments, undertaken by both smaller and larger companies, to ensure these speak to all relevant audiences
'Alcohol brands must not be used to sponsor teams, brands, celebrities or events with a particular appeal to those under the age of 18'
Effective in its current form; no changes required
'Alcohol brands will not be used to sponsor an individual who is under 18. This does not prevent alcohol brands being used to sponsor teams and events, where the team or event includes participation of a person under 18; although any team members under the age of 18 will not be used individually in any promotional or brand activation activity'
Effective in its current form but it would be prudent to recommend that companies avoid sponsoring teams that could potentially comprise a majority of under 18s In respect of the sponsorship of individuals, SGAIP should be mindful of the view that an under 25 threshold should apply as per the Portman Group and CAP guidelines, and consider whether this is an area it might review in the future - partly to promote greater consistency across sponsorship and marketing codes of conduct
'Prior to sponsorship of any individual or team, the owners of the alcohol brand should make all appropriate efforts to check if there is any known reason why an alcohol brand would be inappropriate'
Effective in its current form; no changes required
'All reasonable efforts must be made to obtain historical (or anticipated, if a new event) demographics for the sponsored events'
SGAIP should consider reviewing in more detail the approaches alcohol companies are taking to collecting demographic data, with a view to identifying good practice that could be included in the Guidelines
'Competitions for tickets, which include hospitality involving the service of alcohol, must only be open to those over 18' Effective in its current form; no changes required
'Alcohol branding must not appear on children's replica sports shirts or clothing under sponsorship agreements signed after 1 January 2008'
SGAIP should consider adapting this principle of the Guidelines to encompass branding for non-alcoholic versions of sponsors' products. Specifically, the current wording of the principle could be changed to: 'alcohol branding or branding for non-alcoholic versions of alcoholic drinks must not appear on replica sports shirts…'
'At sponsored events or events associated with the sponsorship, event organisers and all on and off trade alcohol providers (where the level of sponsorship and/or contractual relationship allows) will comply with the standards of good practice and advice contained in the Social Responsibility Standards for the Production and Sale of Alcoholic Drinks: Scotland' guide'
Largely effective in its current form but the Guidelines should also state that alcohol providers must comply with the requirements of licensing legislation
Sampling Effective in its current form but should be updated to reflect the move to Challenge 25
Responsible drinking messages Largely effective in its current form but SGAIP should consider addressing in the Guidelines the growth of online and digital communications. As a minimum, it would be helpful to include a reference to the Portman Group's digital marking code and recommend that companies follow this The findings of the ongoing Portman Group consultation may point towards additional ways in which the issue might be addressed

Other recommendations

5.3 In addition to the recommendations set out above, the findings of the review point towards actions that SGAIP might take to help ensure compliance with the Sponsorship Guidelines in the future.

5.4 First, given the broad consensus on the need to raise awareness of the Guidelines, consideration should be given as to how this might best be achieved. Clearly, it will be important to balance the need to maximise awareness with that of avoiding placing undue financial or practical burdens on industry, rights-holders or the Scottish Government. From this point of view, the suggestion of using existing forums or networks to 'spread the word' would seem preferable to running bespoke training or awareness raising sessions.

5.5 Second, the extent of spontaneous support for an online portal, where the Guidelines and related documentation can be easily accessed, suggests that such a resource would be well used and should definitely be considered. It would facilitate cross-referencing of the relevant legislation and codes, and could also serve as a vehicle for the sharing of ideas, experiences and best practice.

5.6 Third it will be important to establish a dialogue among all interested parties regarding how non-compliance with the Guidelines might be identified and addressed in the future - including whether this should be undertaken by an independent body or the industry itself. This dialogue must precede concerted attempts to raise awareness of the Guidelines, however, to avoid 'putting the cart before the horse'.

5.7 Finally, it will be important to ensure that there is consistency between the Guidelines and any new guidelines developed by the Portman Group to help ease the process of compliance and avoid any unnecessary confusion on the part of UK-wide companies and rights-holders.


Email: Iain MacAllister

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