Code for Advertising Liquor

1 September 2003

All advertising shall adhere to the Principles and Guidelines set out in this Code.

The Code is designed to ensure that liquor advertising will be conducted in a manner which neither conflicts with nor detracts from the need for responsibility and moderation in liquor merchandising and consumption, and which does not encourage consumption by minors.

In interpreting the Code emphasis will be placed on compliance both with the Principles and the spirit and intention of the Code. The Guidelines are examples, by no means exhaustive, of how the Principles are to be interpreted and applied. Thus many are mandatory requirements. Notwithstanding the foregoing, the paramount consideration is the spirit and intention of the Code. Accordingly, upon complaint, the Advertising Standards Complaints Board is vested with a discretion to ensure a commonsense outcome.

Approval by the Liquor Advertising Pre-vetting System (LAPS) is strongly recommended.

Radio and television broadcasters annually provide free airtime to government organisations for the broadcast of liquor moderation messages and/or the no alcohol option as a result of commitments made by broadcasters when alcohol brand advertising was introduced in 1992. Such messages can be broadcast at any time.


"Heroes and/or heroines of the young" means individuals or groups of people who have achieved particular celebrity status with minors and includes cartoon and other imaginative characters.

"Light (or lite) alcohol" means liquor containing a maximum of 2.5% alcohol by volume.

"Liquor advertisement" means an advertisement, by whatever means it is disseminated, that promotes liquor by product, brand or outlet, but does not include a sponsorship credit or a sponsorship advertisement or an advertisement in which reference to or the depiction of liquor or liquor packaging or a liquor outlet is incidental to its purpose.

"Liquor advertiser" means an advertiser which markets or sells liquor and uses its name or any identifying feature to promote the sale of liquor in any way.

"Liquor packaging" means a recognisable representation of a liquor bottle, can, cask, pack or other container.

"Minors" are people who are under the age at which they are legally entitled to purchase liquor.

"Sponsorship credit" means an acknowledgment of a liquor advertiser's sponsorship.

"Sponsorship advertisement" means an advertisement which clearly indicates that the advertiser is sponsoring a person, competition, activity or event.

Principle 1 - Liquor advertisements shall neither conflict with nor detract from the need for responsibility and moderation in liquor consumption.



Liquor advertisements shall not emphasise a product's alcoholic strength, except where the product is a light (or lite) alcohol product.


Liquor advertisements shall not glamorise liquor or association with it, or show or encourage the immoderate consumption of liquor.

Principle 2 - Liquor advertisements shall observe a high standard of social responsibility.



No product shall be advertised that does not comply with the following requirements taken from the National Guidelines on the Naming, Packaging and Merchandising of Alcoholic Beverages, published by the Alcohol Advisory Council of New Zealand (June 2000).

Labels, graphics, artwork, brand names, packaging, containers and other marketing materials and techniques shall observe the law, and shall not:


have the appearance of special appeal to minors by way of designs, motifs, cartoon characters or other devices that predominantly appeal to minors.


lead to confusion with confectionery or soft drinks.


lead to confusion as to the alcoholic nature and/or alcoholic strength of the product.


draw any association with drug culture, narcotics or illegal drugs.


mimic containers or shapes (eg. hypodermic needles and syringes, explosive devices, etc) that are predominantly associated with anti-social or dangerous behaviour.


Advertisements shall not depict or imply offensive, aggressive or irresponsible behaviour or unduly masculine themes or portray unrealistic outcomes.


While advertisements may depict the consumption of liquor as incidental to a friendly and happy social environment, they shall not suggest that liquor will create a significant or desirable change in mood or social environment, or that liquor contributes to or is a reward for success or achievement of any kind.


Advertisements shall not be sexually provocative or suggestive or suggest any link between liquor and sexual attraction or performance.

Principle 3


Liquor advertisements shall not depict or imply the consumption of liquor in potentially hazardous situations or include any unsafe practices.


Liquor advertisements shall not offer motor vehicles or boats as prizes in any competition.


Principle 3 (a) applies to advertisements depicting or implying the consumption of liquor by people in motor vehicles or boats, or while participating in swimming or other water sports, or other activities where the consumption of liquor by those participating is potentially hazardous.

It is permissible to depict the consumption of liquor after the activity has ended, provided that no unsafe practice is involved.

Principle 4


Liquor advertisements shall be directed to adult audiences. Liquor advertisements shall not be directed at minors nor have strong or evident appeal to minors in particular.

Note: Particular care is needed in advertising products such as RTDs which may appeal to the younger section of the adult market.


Liquor advertisements shall not be shown on television between 6.00 am and 8.30 pm


Liquor advertisements shall not use or refer to identifiable heroes or heroines of the young.


Broadcasters must take care to avoid the impression that liquor promotion is dominating the viewing or listening period when broadcasting liquor advertisements, including liquor sponsorship advertisements and/or liquor sponsership credits taking into account the context of the programme.



Anyone visually prominent in a liquor advertisement depicting liquor being consumed shall be and shall appear to be at least 25 years of age with their behaviour and appearance clearly appropriate for people of that age or older.


Minors may appear in advertisements only in situations where they would naturally be found, for example in a family barbecue, provided that there is no direct or implied suggestion that they will serve or consume liquor.


Television liquor advertising shall not exceed six minutes per hour, and there shall be no more than two advertisements for liquor in a single commercial break. (Effective from 1st December 2004.)

Principle 5 - Sponsorship advertisements and sponsorship credits shall clearly and primarily promote the sponsored activity, team or individual. The sponsor, the sponsorship and items incidental to them, may be featured only in a subordinate manner.


Sponsorship advertisements and sponsorship credits:


Shall not contain a sales message.


Shall not show a product or product packaging.


Shall not imitate or use any parts of product advertisements from any media.


Shall not portray consumption of liquor.


Shall only briefly and in a subordinate way mention or portray the sponsors name and/or brand name and/or logo orally and/or visually.


Sponsorship advertisements and sponsorship credits may be broadcast at any time except during programmes intended particularly for minors.

Principle 6 - Liquor advertisements shall not by any means, directly or by innuendo, contain any misleading description, claim or comparison about the product advertised, or about any other product, or suggest some special quality which cannot be sustained.


Advertising Standards Authority New Zealand, PO Box 10-675, Wellington 6143. PH (04) 472 7852 FAX (04) 471 1785 Email asa@asa.co.nz