RGDATA calls for stricter drink promotion controls

Dunnes and Tesco offered up to 25% of alcohol purchases to customers with loyalty cards during the bank holiday
Dunnes and Tesco offered up to 25% of alcohol purchases to customers with loyalty cards during the bank holiday

Tara Buckley, director general RGDATA, calls on Minister for Justice to introduce restrictions on the use of loyalty card in alcohol promotions



10 November 2008

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In response to the recent bank holiday promotions by Dunnes Stores and Tesco, RGDATA has called on the Minister for Justice to introduce legislation to curb the use of loyalty cards for promoting the sale of alcohol.

The offers by both multiples, which ran in the national media, provided discounts of up to 25% on a range of goods including alcohol to customers using loyalty cards. RGDATA director general Tara Buckley said that the retailers seemed to treat alcohol like any other product for sale in their stores and had no regard for recent concerns over irresponsible marketing and sale of alcohol. She also contrasted the position regarding the marketing and sale of other socially sensitive products which are expressly excluded from loyalty card promotions including infant formula, lottery tickets, and tobacco products.

“These latest loyalty card promotions by Tesco and Dunnes show that the pursuit of the bottom line is more important to them than a practical demonstration of corporate responsibility,” said Buckley.

The new Intoxicating Liquor Act contains a provision allowing the Minister for Justice to ban certain promotional practices involving alcohol. Buckley accused Tesco and Dunnes of being “incapable of self-regulation” regarding promotions involving alcohol:

“The Oireachtas gave the Minister the power to outlaw certain marketing practices, including discounting alcohol using loyalty cards. Given the lack of any self restraint by Tesco and Dunnes on the sale of alcohol, it is imperative that these new regulations are introduced now without delay.”

RGDATA confirmed that it has written to Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern asking that new controls on loyalty card promotions be introduced as a matter of priority.



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