Recently, Denmark has seen a unique court verdict, ruling that alcohol has no place in advertising targeted at minors. The verdict is a victory for both the Consumer Ombudsman, and Alcohol and Society (former Danish Alcohol Policy Network), being the fruit of several complaints throughout the years.


Back in 2008, the Danish Consumer Ombudsman clamped down on youth travel agencies with a law addition of 2006 as his legal basis. This introduced a complete ban on alcohol in marketing targeted at minors (below 18). In December of 2011, the law was put to the test and stood its ground. The court sentenced Dansk Ungdomsferie Aps, a youth travel agency, a 55.000 Dk fine (7.000 Euros) for targeting minors and encouraging alcohol consumption.

Hereby, the Consumer Ombudsman has been granted a court order, which implies a general prohibition against using alcohol as eye catcher in marketing aimed at minors. The case is a travel advert in the youth magazine “Chili”. The ad linked to the company web site, which featured several references to alcohol, for example: Photos of adolescents partying and expressions like: “pub crawl”, “we visit 5 bars in 4 hours each with its own specialty”, “one hour free Sangria”, “HAPPY HOUR on additional drinks and cocktails”, “The Glass offers 3 hours free bar to light up the party, which soon reaches a boiling point”.

The Consumer Ombudsman is satisfied with the result. Being the first verdict regarding a violation of the 2006 addition to the Marketing Practices Act, it assesses the ban on encouraging minors to drink alcohol. Moreover the ruling makes clear, that a marketing activity does not need to be in bad taste or aggressive to be ruled out. The mere presence of alcohol in an advertisement is enough.

“This is a test case, and obviously I am pleased that the court agreed with our assessment that the marketing of Dansk Ungdomsferie Aps violates the provision regarding encouraging adolescents to drink alcohol” states the Consumer Ombudsman, Henrik Øe and continues: “I am also very content that it clearly appears from the ruling that the provision is not limited to apply to cases of gross or aggressive character only. This court ruling is of great consequence to similar cases in the future.”

Text used from: 02/01/12

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