The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) recently introduced the Responsibility Standards for the Use of Social Influencers In Alcohol Marketing which are aimed at, among other things, preventing alcohol marketing by influencers reaching children and encouraging greater transparency. Several advertising, PR and influencer agencies have notably signed on and agreed to abide by these new voluntary standards.

IARD has previously partnered with platforms such as YouTube and Facebook to help implement safeguards for alcohol advertising online, including improving age screening. However, according to IARD, these new standards are designed to give content creators the tools that they need to safeguard their content and to directly address some of the biggest concerns currently facing the marketing community. Along with these standards, IARD has committed to providing tools and videos to alcohol brands and influencers to enable them to follow responsible content creation practices.

The Responsibility Standards for the Use of Social Influencers in Alcohol Marketing lay out the parties' belief in the following:

  • In disclosure and transparency – so that posts are clearly identified as marketing content
  • In abiding by local laws and being responsible in our communications by:
    • Not making health claims
    • Not promoting illegal behavior or excessive consumption
    • Not encouraging alcohol consumption to those under legal purchase age
    • Not linking the product to social and sexual success
    • Not positioning abstinence negatively
  • In preventing those under legal purchase age from seeing alcohol marketing online by using age-affirmation mechanisms where possible, using influencers that are at least 25 years old where effective age-affirmation isn’t in place, and who primarily appeal to adult audiences
  • In promoting understanding of responsible drinking, for those who choose to drink by pointing to, where appropriate, reliable third-party online resources and including messages that discourage heavy drinking, drinking during pregnancy, drink driving, and drinking if underage

They also recognize the importance of:

  • Incorporating these standards into contracts and practice
  • Conducting due diligence to help ensure influencers have no reputational association with harmful drinking
  • Monitoring posts and asking the influencer to fix or remove posts that do not comply; if the influencer does not address issues within 72 hours of notification then they will reassess their relationship with them
  • Regularly auditing and monitoring campaigns for compliance
  • Building in feedback mechanisms so that influencers can flag any engagement or issues around responsible drinking with an agency or brand