An Instagram account about the cider of the Cider Inn violates the Code of Ethics in Advertising – so follows from the resolution by Commission of Ethics in Advertising (“CEA”) of February 25, 2015 that addressed the consumer complaint against the cider producer.
The applicant noticed that in a nation-wide medium, which Instagram undoubtedly is, Cider Inn advertises its cider. Since there are no age restrictions in place on Instagram, the cider could be promoted among minors.
Replying to the complaint, the company JRBB stated Instagram does not provide any technical options to restrict the age of persons communicating with the account of Cider Inn, but the company was acting based on the experience of such Polish brands as Żywiec or Lubelska Vodka that successfully perform a similar activity on Instagram. The producer has also pointed out the account description of Cider Inn on Instagram features the following message (as translated from Polish) “Cider Inn. World-class Polish cider. www.facebook.com/CiderInn. Alcohol. For adults only.”
The Adjudication Panel determined that because no applicable age restrictions are in place on the social networking site Instagram may lead to the situation in which children and young people with Instagram accounts are the recipients of the cider – alcoholic beverage – advertising. Such situation, in the opinion of the Panel, results in the Instagram account of Cider Inn being in violation of the Code of Ethics in Advertising.
This case contributes to the analysis of permissibility of the cider advertisement as such.
According to the Education in Sobriety and Alcoholism Prevention Act, it is prohibited within the country to advertise and promote alcoholic beverages, with the exception of beer which is permitted to be advertised and promoted under certain conditions (e.g. it may not be directed to minors). Only beer is excluded from this prohibition, which means advertising cider is prohibited in Poland (even if such advertisement is not directed to minors – therefore, in this respect arguments of CEA regarding the access of children to social networking sites seem legally irrelevant). This position is confirmed by the Ministry of Economy that has prepared a proposal for legislative amendment of the aforementioned Act permitting the advertising and promotion of ciders in similar scope to beer. Unfortunately, works that were commenced in the Senate were halted due to objections of the Ministry of Health which is of the opinion that cider could find its way to those consumers that do not yet drink alcohol.
In the current legal situation, when intending to promote cider, one must focus on permitted forms of this activity. The aforementioned Act does not prohibit advertising and promoting alcoholic beverages (including cider) inter alia inside wholesale stores, on separate alcohol stands or such forms of advertising or promotion that aren’t of public nature. Informing about sponsoring may also pay a significant role in cider promotion.
And if you’d like to know what it means for an advertisement to be non-public, you should keep reading our blog.