As in most countries, Brazil has strict regulations on sensitive advertising, especially as regards to alcohol, tobacco and other controlled substances.

In Brazil, advertising is regulated by the Federal Constitution, which main directive is the freedom of speech. However, the Constitution also predicts that regulations referring to products that offer health and environmental risks will be provided by specific laws (section 220) and follow some restrictions. The regulation to these products, including alcoholic beverages, is found in Federal Law 9,294/1996.

According to Law 9,294/1996, alcoholic beverages are those which alcohol content exceeds 13 degrees on Gay Lussac scale. The Section 3 sets forth that alcohol advertising must always contain a safeguard warning to the consumers about the risks that the product may offer, as well as a note preventing overconsumption. Besides, the content of the advertising shall not associate drinking with driving, the practice of healthy activities, professional success, nor with sexual performance.

Section 4 of the same Law establishes that advertising alcoholic beverages on radio or television must be restricted and only aired between 9pm and 6am. Online advertising follows the same prescriptions as television, and printed advertising must contain visible safeguard warnings, as well as direct recommendations such as "do not drive if you drink," "drink moderately" and "this product is for adults."

The CONAR (National Council of Advertisement Self-Regulation) is also responsible to edit regulations involving advertising and publicity, such as the Publicity Code and the Brazilian Code of Advertising Self- Regulation. The main focus of CONAR's regulations is to safeguard the ethics in advertising and prevent any kind of excesses and deficiencies.

In view of the CONAR's proper operation and procedures, the decisions issued by the Board of Counselors in any representation are respected by the industry, which are, therefore, mostly self-regulated. At the end of any procedure initiated before the CONAR, the final decision may only be challenged in court.

Taking as an example, Resolution 1/08 A, issued by CONAR, narrows the possibilities of alcohol advertising, avoiding imperative texts and protecting children and adolescents from the consumption of such products. The content of the safeguard warning must be incisive and emphasize the fact that alcoholic beverages are indicated only for people older than 18 years old.

According to a decision issued by the Federal Court of the 4th Region of Rio Grande do Sul (TRF4), on 11/12/2014, Law No. 9.294/1996 will now consider as alcoholic beverages those which gradation is equal or superior to 0.5 degree in the Gay Lussac scale. This change is relevant because henceforth, beer and wine advertisings are now also restricted to the time between 9pm and 6am.

The decision was celebrated by children protection entities as well as by alcohol prevention groups, as they consider advertising one of the most important elements to lead people of all ages to try alcoholic beverages.

As a matter of fact, alcohol consumption in Brazil is 40% superior to the global average. In 2015, Brazilians consumed 8.7 L of pure alcohol, this number is high, but was even higher back in 2012: 9.8 L. According to information by WHO (World Health Organization), in Brazil, alcohol is more lethal than urban violence or some serious diseases, as AIDS. That is why there is such pressure from the civil society, as well as from the public power, to restrict alcohol advertising as a strategy to reduce the appeal of alcohol, especially to young people.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.