This story has been updated with a quote from Pernod Ricard, after they contacted Movendi International on April 28, 2022.
A social media account under the name “yourbestriflon” on TikTok and Instagram is promoting Pernod Ricard’s products, including the brand Pastis. There is a suspicion this is hidden advertising by the alcohol giant.
Both accounts have published illegal, highly unethical, and harmful content to promote Pernod Ricard and its Pastis product. Some advertisements even feature children.
- One video depicted a woman who was driving quickly who stopped to get a Pernod Ricard beverage and then drove away.
- In one Instagram post, two children are depicted as wondering if Pernod Ricard’s Pastis is actually an alcohol product.
This content is against the French Evin’s Law. The so called “Loi Evin” governs alcohol marketing in France and largely bans alcohol advertising. The law stipulates that advertisements must be limited “to informative content”, and that there can be “no association with celebration, conviviality, humor”, according to the lawyer from Addictions France.
The Addictions France Association has filed a court case requesting the courts to order TikTok and Instagram (through its parent company Meta) to communicate the name and contact details of the internet user behind the “yourbestriflon” accounts, which are suspected to be advertising alcohol in disguise for alcohol giant Pernod Ricard.
The account has 16,900 followers on Instagram. It specifically mentions ”no connection with Ricard”. The Instagram account has now been made “private”. Meaning the user has to allow followers access to the account.
Pernod Ricard would like to point out that the Group has no connection with the “yourbestriflon” initiative, nor with any other similar one. Due to its popularity, the Ricard brand is regularly quoted or misused by people outside the Group, which can only negatively impact the image of the brand and our company and goes against our policy of ”premiumization”. In such a situation, as soon as we become aware of it, our teams seek to contact the perpetrators to ask them to put an end to it,” said the Pernod Ricard group, contacted by BFMTV.Statement submitted by Nicole Gresh, Vice President, Media Relation, Weber Shandwick, a global public relations firm doing the dirty work for the alcohol industry
Meta, parent company of Instagram, refuses to cooperate and continues to keep illegal advertising on the account
TikTok and Instagram had different responses when requests were made for removal of the content and identification of the user.
TikTok has already agreed to remove the video and does not object to providing the user’s identification data behind the account, provided the court orders it to do so.
Meta, however, has refused to remove any of the content from the Instagram account or to provide identification details of the user.
Meta is claiming that it was Irish law and not French law that applies to the Instagram account since the company headquarters are in Ireland.
Meta further makes the excuse that the Addictions France Association has not justified why each of the photos on the Instagram account is illegal. To escape responsibility Meta is directing attention to Google to identify the user via their Gmail address.
Meta’s response is not surprising considering the amount of data the company collects and sells to Big Alcohol and other health harmful industries. By doing so both Meta and Big Alcohol maximize profits at the cost of people’s health and well-being.
It was only recently that Facebook improved advertising regulations to stop companies from targeting children based on “interests”.
- A report by VicHealth, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) and the Obesity Policy Coalition (OPC) in Australia uncovered that 940,000 children were profiled as “interested in alcohol” by Facebook in 2018.
- A report by FARE and OPC found that by the time a child is 13 years old, an estimated 72 million data points will have been collected by companies on a child.
Public outrage led Facebook to change its advertising regulations to stop allowing advertisers to target children based on “interest” profiles. However, Facebook did not commit to stop collecting this data and profiling children as interested in health harmful products. This means once children turn 18 years, unhealthy industries such as alcohol will obtain ready-made profiles for targeting youth.
The digital space is becoming important for Pernod Ricard
Pernod Ricard is innovating to get even more people to buy their products. Recently the company officially launched in the metaverse or the virtual reality world with Absolut vodka’s Coachella activation. Absolut is one of the most important brands that Pernod Ricard owns.
Pernod Ricard’s metaverse experience was created in partnership with Decentraland and is called Absolut.Land. It is a recreation of Coachella in virtual reality.
The Absolut.Land virtual experience lets players be virtual bartenders, gift others cocktails and various other activities which normalize alcohol use. Not even virtual reality is safe from the alcoholization of all social spaces.
There will be NFT wearables that players can wear. And players in Absolut.Land are offered exclusive access to listen first to Swedish House Mafia’s new album.
People who are physically at Coachella can recreate their experiences on the metaverse. They can even order the cocktails they make on the metaverse to be delivered to homes.
Through this new metaverse platform, Pernod Ricard will be able to enter people’s homes and normalize alcohol in a whole new method. By entering the metaverse Pernod Ricard is elevating its brand image as exciting and trendy to build more brand loyalty and get more consumers in the long run.
Summary of articles about the ‘Loi Evin’
- A clear definition of alcoholic beverages is given: All alcoholic drinks over 1.2% alcohol by volume are considered alcoholic beverages.
- Places and media where advertising is authorized are defined.
- No alcohol advertising should target young people;
- No alcohol advertising is allowed on television or in cinemas;
- No alcohol sponsorship of cultural or sports events is permitted.
- Alcohol advertising is permitted only in the press for adults, on billboards, on radio channels (under precise conditions), and at special events or places such as wine fairs or wine museums. When advertising is permitted, its content is regulated:
- Messages and images should refer only to the qualities of the products such as degree, origin, composition, means of production, patterns of consumption;
- A health message must be included on each advertisement, such as “l’abus d’alcool est dangereux pour la santé” (the abuse of alcohol is dangerous for health).