ALCOHOL and DRUG REPORT
ICELAND - Marketing and advertising
Alcohol Law (Áfengislög) states that "all advertising and marketing is banned." In addition, The Law on Media states that commercial messages and teleshopping for alcohol are forbidden. It is also prohibited to show consumption or any other usage of alcohol in advertising or for information on any other commodity or service. Law on radio broadcasting states that radio programs may not be sponsored by entities that are forbidden to advertise their product or service.
While article 20 of the current alcohol law has a total ban on alcohol advertising, the alcohol industry has found and uses loopholes regarding beer – for example by advertising low alcohol content versions with same firm brand and trademarks. Advertising was common in newspapers but when police put a focus on editors instead of the industry they have decreased but increased in TV instead. Are also not uncommon as sponsors on radio programs and are seen in sports arenas, especially football areas.
As mentioned earlier in April 2018 Iceland´s Ministry of Education and Culture was considering lifting the ban on advertising alcohol and tobacco products. A majority of the committee on independent media proposed the change, publishing a report on the matter this past January. The committee stated the advertisements could present a large source of income for independent media in Iceland. The plan met strong opposition from the public health community from home and abroad and was subsequently removed from the agenda.
According to a study conducted by MMR (Market and Media Research) in April 2018 the majority of Icelanders were also opposed to allowing alcohol and tobacco ads. Over 60% of respondents reported being opposed to such marketing and 42% reported being “very opposed.” Only 18% of respondents were in favor of the ban on alcohol and tobacco ads being lifted.