ALCOHOL and DRUG REPORT
Finland - Marketing and advertising
The law reform that came into effect on 1 January 2015 prohibits the advertising of mild alcoholic beverages in public places, such as bus stops, public transportation vehicles and billboards. An exception to this rule is that alcohol can still be advertised at public events, such as sports events and concerts. Furthermore, advertising in the current manner is allowed on ships in international traffic and in locations where alcoholic beverages are served and sold. Outside these locations, the names and prices of alcoholic beverages may be advertised.
The current limit for showing alcohol commercials on TV will be moved from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m. In future, this limitation will also apply to radio commercials.
In future, such advertising and marketing of mild alcoholic beverages that involves consumers’ participation in a game, lottery or competition will be prohibited. In addition, content produced or shared by consumers, such as writing, photos, video clips or commercial films, must not be used for advertising. This affects alcohol advertising on social media but does not apply to citizens’ own communication. In other words, the new restrictions to alcohol advertising only limit the rights of producers and sellers to advertise their products on the street or on social media. Consumers are still allowed to praise their favourite drinks as much as they please.
Advertising of spirits continues to be prohibited. According to the current Alcohol Act, spirits can be shown only on printed price lists. In future, retail price lists (Alko, airlines and shipping companies) may be published also on the internet.
Substance abuse organisations pursued a solution similar to the French Loi Evin, so that alcohol advertising would be limited to product information and any lifestyle advertising would be banned. The restrictions to outdoor advertising are considered good as such, but allowing advertising at sports events and other public events undermines the efficiency of the restrictions.
Some representatives of the media, advertising and marketing players and, particularly, representatives of the brewing industry have strongly opposed the new restrictions in public, questioning the effects of advertising on children and adolescents.
At the moment, total prohibition of advertising has no chance of success; it is opposed by decision-makers and the general public alike.
Canges from 2018 Alcohol Act
As of 1 January 2018, restaurants are able to advertise Happy Hour discounts, for example on streets and in newspapers.
Producers of strong alcoholic beverages, wholesalers and restaurants and bars can present their products for example in online price listings as of 1 January 2018.