Thirteen leading drinks companies – including Diageo and Anheuser-Busch InBev – have launched a new set of social media guidelines aiming to stop content reaching children. 

The Digital Guiding Principles (DGPs), unveiled this week, have been designed to ensure that online marketing meets the same standards as traditional forms of advertising. The principles are also part of previously agreed commitments by drinks firms to reduce harmful drinking, working with the World Federation of Advertisers. 

The guidelines include: 

  • Whenever engaging a consumer with a brand, a company must use an age-affirmation tool
  • When a sharing option is included in social media content, firms should include a Forward Advice Notice (FAN) on the platform, clearly stating that the content should not be forwarded to anyone under the country's legal drinking age
  • A "clearly-visible" responsible-drinking message should be included on company-controlled digital platforms
  • Drinks firms must "respect user privacy", such as getting prior consent before sending them direct marketing information

“The DGPs, and the broader commitments, represent the rigorous steps that beverage alcohol producers are taking to help reduce harmful drinking,” said Marcus Grant, president of ICAP, which hosted a launch event for the principles. 

The 13 signatories are: Anheuser-Busch InBev, Diageo, HeinekenBacardi, Japanese Spirits & Liqueurs Makers Association, Beam Inc (now Beam Suntory), Molson Coors, Brewers Association of Japan, Pernod Ricard, Brown-Forman, SABMillerCarlsberg and UB Group.