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Advertising Code Commission rejects complaint STAP about nude in beer commercial

7 June 2017

Advertising Code Commission rejects complaint STAP about nude in beer commercial The Advertising Code Commission has rejected a complaint of the Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP about nude in the commercial 'Delayed Enjoyment' of the beer brand Brand (owned by Heineken). This while showing naked women in alcohol advertising is prohibited according to the Advertising Code for Alcoholic Beverages (The Code), the aspect of which the complaint is primarily based.

The Code clearly states that advertisements are prohibited “in which a woman takes off her clothes or has someone else take off her clothes until she is topless or completely naked, or messages in which she is topless or naked, even if this is not evidently the result of alcohol (consumption).”

The prohibition in the Code is an elaboration of the EU-wide ban of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive to create in alcohol tv commercials the impression that the consumption of alcohol contributes towards social or sexual success.

In the Brand beer commercial that STAP complained about, there is a woman who undresses herself and is naked, while the voice-over says "staggering". The naked woman immediately precedes an erotic scene and before and after you see drinking (the first shot of) a glass of beer.

However, the Advertising Code Commission judges that this scene is not in conflict with the Code because "there is no connection between alcohol (consumption) and the woman's nudity".

Wim van Dalen, director of STAP, finds the argument of the Advertising Code Commission very weak. Van Dalen: "The Code is clear: no naked women. And now the Advertising Code Commission rejects this perfectly correct complaint because there is no suggestion that there is a connection with alcohol(consumption). Apparently, the commission 'forgets' that the scene is in a beer commercial that's all about drinking the first shot of beer. How much clearer should it be about alcohol consumption?"

Van Dalen believes that the rejection of the complaint is mainly due to the fact that there is in the Netherlands no independent claims commission to enforce the rules of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The European rules on alcohol advertising are included in national legislation in almost all Member States, but not in the Netherlands: they are implemented in a self regulation code that is enforced by the Advertising Code Committee of the Advertising Code Foundation. That foundation is funded by big commercial advertisers. Van Dalen: "Heineken is an important advertiser and I think that plays a role in the appreciation of this complaint by the Advertising Code Commission."

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Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy STAP
P.O. Box 9769
3506 GT Utrecht
The Netherlands
T: +31 (0)30-6565041
F: +31 (0)30-6565043
E: info@stap.nl