Norway - Marketing and advertising
Norway has had a ban on alcohol advertising since 1975. The ban applies to all media and covers all commercial messages that target a Norwegian audience, with some minor exceptions to advertising in trade magazines etc. Historically, there have been some cases before the courts to determine the boundaries of advertising, but on the whole, the courts have upheld a strict interpretation of the advertising ban.
The advertising ban does not apply to editorial coverage of alcoholic products. Many Norwegian media outlets have focused on wine journalism, with reviews of alcoholic products and extensive coverage of new products in the monopoly stores. Clearly, this kind of journalism is an important tool for producers and importers to communicate with their customers, and it is frequently reported that good reviews in major newspapers translate into higher sales in the state monopoly stores.1
In recent years, Norwegian brewers have complained that they are not allowed to provide neutral information about their products on their websites. They point out that such information is provided on the wine monopoly webshop and argue that this creates an unfair disadvantage for low alcoholic strength products like beer. However, the reason for this differential treatment is that the wine monopoly webshops sells to consumers, whereas the breweries sell to retailers.
Norwegian brewers have set up a website www.drikkeglede.no (”drinking enjoyment”) to provide product information. However, the Norwegian Directorate of Health intervened and all information and pictures on the website are now censored.
The Government has signalled that they will allow neutral product information and images on producers’ websites, on restaurant menus and other channels aimed at consumers. It is not yet clear how this new policy will be designed, but there is some worry that it will be difficult to draw the line between ”neutral description” and sales promotion. Furthermore, the new policy cannot only apply to Norwegian producers but will also apply to global producers.
Find more also from EUCAM
Read also The Association of Norwegian Wine and Spirits Suppliers report (September 2018) which states that "There is a broad political consensus that we should have a strict ban on alcohol advertising in Norway, and this is also something the largest industry organisations in the alcohol sector support."