Marketing of alcohol through social media has increased rapidly in recent years, most likely because of consumer's increased online presence combined with the limited possibilities to market alcoholic beverages in Sweden. Under Swedish law, all alcohol advertising must be consistent with specific moderation and shall not target young people under 25 years of age. Nevertheless, the online marketing channels are generally targeting younger groups.
The Swedish government has recently received a governmental report proposing a prohibition of commercial advertisements for alcoholic beverages and alcoholic preparations in social media. The report was requested in 2016 where an examiner was tasked to investigate shortcomings of the current legislation surrounding alcohol marketing.
Among other things, the report discuss how protection of children and young adults (up to the age of 25) can be improved in relation to current marketing of alcohol through social or other digital media. The report proposes a prohibition to advertise alcoholic beverages and alcoholic preparations that, from a consumer point of view, are comparable to alcoholic drinks or otherwise may be used by consumers as intoxicants (for example alcohol ice cream) in social media. A violation of the prohibition should impose sanctions such as market disruption fines of up to a maximum of SEK 10 million. This corresponds with sanctions relating to violations of the Swedish ban on alcohol advertising in radio and television.
The report has been sent on a referral in order to share more views on how children and young people can be properly protected from alcohol advertising on social media. The report proposes that the legislative amendments enters into force on 1 September 2019. However, it remains to be seen if the report will lead to any legislative changes.
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