Advertisers selling alcohol or promoting the environmental benefits of their products will soon have less wriggle-room in ambiguous advertisements.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) today (Mon) released its updated code for environmental claims and for the advertising and promotion of alcohol. The changes were signalled late last year and come onto effect in January next year.

Both sets of codes now go into far greater detail and clarify the wording around particular principles.

They include a more detailed introduction which focuses on the harmful use of alcohol, rather than just the use of alcohol, and the rewording and streamlining of principles, an ASA spokeswoman said.


The overarching principle was now around the high standard of social responsibility of alcohol advertisements and promotions, which previously was only the second principle in the code.

"Where there was always a rule around immoderate consumption, we've added some more language in there around irresponsibility," she added.

The code was regularly reviewed and the merger did not come as the result of advertisers getting through loopholes, she said.

"With the alcohol code we have a pretty strict policy of regular review because it's an area of high interest and we have a particular process we follow for the review of that code."

The environmental code has a more detailed introduction and part of it has been rewritten.

It now states that:

*Environmental claims shall be relevant, specific and clearly explain the significance of the claim in language readily understood by consumers.

* Environmental claims shall be made only where there is a genuine benefit, not where they are simply promoting the observance of existing law.


* Environmental claims shall not overstate the level of scientific acceptance.

The changes did not come as the result of ads the ASA could not penalise, the spokeswoman said.

"We had a code that was quite old, and we've had a situation where there's been a lot more interest in this type of claim."

The code now better reflected what was happening in the advertising environment, she said.