The Alcoholic Beverage Control Act, B.E. 2551 (“the ABCA”) poses challenges for manufacturers and
content creators producing alcohol advertisement projects in Thailand. The ABCA aims to reduce alcohol-related problems by controlling the sale and advertisement of alcoholic beverages, and punishing non-compliance by means of heavy fines and penalties including imprisonment.

Stakeholders involved in producing alcohol advertisements should take note of the following guidelines in the ABCA:

Use of trademarks or names of alcoholic beverages in advertisements

Section 32 of the ABCA prohibits advertising or displaying the name, symbol or trademark of an alcoholic beverage in a way that shows its qualities or convinces someone else to drink. The beverage and its packaging or container cannot appear in the advertisement.

Furthermore, additional Ministerial Regulations (B.E. 2553 (2010)) also stipulate that, for alcohol advertisements:

  1. Any alcoholic beverage logo or symbol must account for less than 3% of the total space in any advertisement, and less than 5% or two seconds of a video advertisement, whichever is shorter.
  2. Any alcoholic beverage logo or symbol must only appear at the end of a video advertisement.
  3. Video advertisements must only be broadcast between 10pm and 5am (Bangkok Time Zone, GMT +7).

In line with these regulations, apart from the logo or symbol as the advertisement’s end card, alcohol advertisementscannot contain any trademark or beverage name, nor images of any beverage, packaging or containers.

Portrayal of alcoholic drinks in advertisements

In line with the ABCA’s policy goals, the ABCA stipulates further restrictions on the content in alcohol advertisements. Among others, the following contents and marketing strategies are prohibited under sections 30 and 32 of the ABCA:

  • Lucky draws, free samples and other promotional activities to market alcoholic beverages;
  • Celebrity endorsement of an alcoholic beverage;
  • Endorsement of alcoholic beverages by minors (under the age of 20);
  • Advertising the properties, e.g. health benefits, of an alcoholic beverage.

Best practices for stakeholders

Stakeholders involved in alcohol advertising in Thailand should rethink their brand strategy to continue creating content that complies with the ABCA and related regulations. No longer can they focus on marketing the beverages themselves, the packaging, or even displaying a glass of the beverage.

It is thus the prerogative of both advertisement and alcohol producers to approach their marketing from creative angles, like associating their brands and beverages with specific lifestyles and narratives appealing to their target demographics.

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.

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