Producers in the spirits sector have joined forces with advertising and public relations agencies to establish the first industry-wide standards for the responsible influencer marketing of alcohol.
The 12 alcohol companies that form the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) - including Diageo, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Bacardi and Pernod Ricard - have teamed up with 13 leading marketing firms to launch the initiative.
With the value of influencer marketing expected to reach US$13.8 billion by the end of this year (Influencer Marketing Hub Benchmark Report 2021), the producers and advertisers have laid out measures to regulate their partnerships.
They have pledged to conduct diligence on the influencers they partner with; to use age-affirmation technology where possible; and to advocate for a better understanding of responsible drinking.
Henry Ashworth, IARD president and CEO, commented: "This is a world-first initiative in raising collective standards of responsibility across multiple digital channels, and we call on our partners in the alcohol, advertising and influencer industries to join us in our ongoing work to ensure that alcohol marketing across all forms of media is responsible.
"This is a major step in preventing minors from seeing any alcohol marketing and IARD is proud to have united the world's leading agencies to help raise global standards."
In addition to the pledge, the companies involved have created a set of five safeguards that apply to influencers working with alcohol brands, and a set of tools and videos to guide the content creation of brands and influencers.
The new standards build on the IARD's previous initiatives to improve the way alcohol is marketed on social media. Last year, the group released a series of educational videos explaining how producers can prevent minors from seeing alcohol-related content on platforms.
Albert Baladi, president and CEO of Beam Suntory and chair of IARD CEO Group, said: "This partnership reflects the significant work that IARD members have already undertaken and the shared determination with the world's leading advertising, public relations and influencer agencies to do even more to prevent minors from seeing alcohol advertising online.
"These standards directly address some of the biggest concerns facing the marketing community right now. By offering more transparency and giving those at the heart of content creation the correct tools to safeguard their content, we are able to expand on the significant progress and marketing codes of practice already in place to ensure that these posts do not reach minors or encourage any kind of irresponsible consumption."
In January, the IARD formed a coalition with online retailers and delivery platforms to establish a global standard for the online sale and delivery of alcoholic beverages.