The Portman Group has issued new guidelines

The Portman Group has issued new guidelines

Industry watchdog the Portman Group has introduced a host of new rules, including stricter controls on online marketing and a ban on all alcohol ads related to sex. 

The fifth edition of its marketing code, which went live today (31 May), covers areas such as social media, marketing to under-18s and new guidelines on how producers can refer to low abv products. The code as a whole is designed to ensure the drinks industry acts in a "socially responsible" manner when promoting products.

On online marketing, the code now covers all content beyond the Advertising Standards Authority's remit, which means "public relations materials", blogs and user-generated content. 

The new code also bans "any direct or indirect associations with sexual activity as well as preventing references to sexual success," the group said. Previously the code only prevented links to "sexual success". 

The updated guidelines will also allow producers to more freely promote low and lower alcohol alternatives by "making the lower strength a dominant theme" in their marketing.  

Meanwhile, on marketing to children, images of people who are - or look like they are - under 25 can no longer be featured in a significant role or be seen drinking or holding alcohol.

Earlier this month, the group announced its chairman Seymour Fortescue is stepping down