Finland – the alcohol advertising free zone?

It’s an end of an era. From the beginning of year 2015 you shouldn’t be seeing alcohol advertisements anywhere outdoors in Finland. Since 1995 it has been legal to advertise mild alcohol drinks. The law forbidding any alcohol advertising came through recently and the main reason for this, they say, is to protect the adolescents.
Advertising is supposed to create a positive image of a product. The health authorities are saying that alcohol advertising is giving a false image to adolescents and giving them the idea to start consuming alcohol at a younger age. They are also saying that it increases  alcohol consumption.
What the authorities still can’t do is to remove alcohol from the foreign TV programs and movies. This is a problem because it gives the foreign alcohol brands the possibility to be seen better than the Finnish brands. In my opinion this is also a more efficient way to promote alcohol drinks for young people.
The entrepreneurs and people working in the restaurant industry are getting furious because of the government’s restrictions. They see the authorities becoming the nannies of this society. It seems that nothing will be tolerated when it comes to alcohol.
The regulations will have a negative effect on the industry. Restaurants and alcohol brands have to find new ways to promote their products. Also it is going to be costly and a lot of work for the authorities to keep on track what is legal and what is not. Will they even be able to monitor that the law will be obeyed?
The better way to protect the adolescents would be enlightenment and teaching awareness. I’ve been exposed to alcohol advertisements throughout my whole life so for me it’s hard to understand why alcohol regulations are getting so tight.
Of course social media is buzzing about the alcohol regulations. The latest conflict between the authorities and a restaurant entrepreneur was about the Beer and Whiskey Exhibition and especially about the word “whiskey”. Advertising strong alcohol drinks has always been forbidden and in this case the authorities saw the word “whiskey” in the exhibition’s name as a form of  advertising that should be forbidden. Now people are making jokes about this situation. Yet we don’t know who is going to be the last to laugh about this whole scene.
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5 Responses to Finland – the alcohol advertising free zone?

  1. wertonen says:

    A fun fact: the trend line of underage drinking in Finland has been southbound since the mid 90’s. See more here:

  2. henrikikonen says:

    When I first heard about this new law I thought it was some joke going on in social network. It truly sounds like one! This new law is not creating any new jobs for this country, on the contrary it is killing Finnish restaurants and alcohol companies. As we can see from wertonen’s comment, underage drinking is going down, so why do we need this law? It might even encourage rebellious teenagers to start drinking even more!

  3. Very interesting post! I agree with you on the fact that we have been exposed to alcohol advertisement throughout our lives, but I can’t really say it has affected on me in either positive or negative way. I don’t see how this new law could make the consumption of alcohol lower. From examples like the Beer and Whiskey exhibiotion, we can see how nowadays almost anything can be seen as offensive, inappropiate or somehow forbidden. Isn’t there a saying that once you forbid it, It’ll become more appealing? I wonder how this new law will change the alcohol consumption – if it even will make difference.

  4. joniruo says:

    It is ridiculous how authorities bans all advertising of alcohol like it’s the end of the civilization. If I see a picture of a beer bottle at the bus stop, I don’t instantly crave a cold beer. I think the education of dangers of alcohol in our school system has done a good job and authorities should believe more in our schooling.
    I just hope they realize someday how stupid they look with all of those regulations they are planning..

  5. pauliinaluukkainen says:

    I agree with your thoughts, I don’t think that banning alcohol advertising will stop adolescents from drinking, it might even encourage them to do so. And myself I almost don’t even pay attention to alcohol advertising because in Finland it is that big of a part or that aggressive.

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