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SWA publishes revised industry marketing code

Published:  30 July, 2020

The Scotch Whisky Association (SWA) has published the fourth edition of its Code of Practice for the Responsible Marketing and Promotion of Scotch Whisky.

Key changes to the code rules include the following: ‘Marketing communications cannot claim or suggest drinking alcohol will change a person’s mood or behaviour’; ‘Marketing or promotional activity should not suggest the success of an event or occasion is reliant on alcohol consumption’; and ‘Marketing communications should not cause serious or widespread offence’.

Welcoming the revised Code, Karen Betts, chief executive of the SWA, said: “Our industry takes its commitment to responsible marketing of its products extremely seriously, and our member companies are fully aware of their commitments under the SWA’s Code as they promote Scotch Whisky in our national and international markets.

“Crucially, as we look towards a sustained recovery of the hospitality industry in the aftermath of Covid-19, all of our messaging around alcohol sales and marketing must be done through the prism of responsibility.”

The SWA updates the Code, which is a condition of SWA membership, at regular intervals to keep at pace with changes in marketing and society. 

This revised edition strengthens a number of code rules and updates the complaints procedure and sanctions, while also incorporating specific guidance to help companies on their compliance with the Code.  

The revised Code of Marketing can be found via the Scotch Whisky Association website.

Earlier this month, the SWA launched a campaign urging whisky lovers to write to their MPs underlining the damage that US tariffs are causing to the Scotch whisky industry and asking them to “urge the government to call time on tariffs”.