A group of 13 advertising, PR and influencer agencies have banded together to lead by example by signing up to responsible marketing guidelines set out by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD).
Participants including heavyweights McCann, Publicis, Dentsu and Havas will all operate to a set of common global standards governing proper due diligence on influencers, transparency over the use of sponsored products and the use of age verification technology.
The voluntary approach comes amid an explosion in the influencer marketing sector, which is expected to be worth $13.1bn by the end of the year, catching the attention of alcohol companies and regulators in the process.
IARD is a voluntary grouping that promotes safeguards against irresponsible drinking. To help achieve this a set of tools and videos has been created to support brands and influencers wishing to follow best practice. This includes a formal commitment to avoid making health claims, promoting illegal or excessive consumption and framing abstinence as a negative.
Albert Baladi, president and chief executive officer of Beam Suntory and chair of IARD chief executive officer group, said: “These standards directly address some of the biggest concerns facing the marketing community right now. By offering more transparency and giving those at the heart of content creation the correct tools to safeguard their content, we are able to expand on the significant progress and marketing codes of practice already in place to ensure that these posts do not reach minors or encourage any kind of irresponsible consumption.”
Henry Ashworth, IARD president and chief executive, added: “This is a world-first initiative in raising collective standards of responsibility across multiple digital channels, and we call on our partners in the alcohol, advertising and influencer industries to join us in our ongoing work to ensure that alcohol marketing across all forms of media is responsible.”
The alarm has previously been raised at attempts by nefarious nations to subvert influencer messaging to promote anti-vaccine conspiracy theories.