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Tuesday, 13 July 2004

OKAY FOR FRENCH TO BAN TRANSMISSION OF BRITISH ALCOHOL ADVERTISEMENTS


Another interesting case from the ECJ today -- C-429/02 Bacardi France SAS v Television Francaise 1 SA and others . Bacardi makes and sells numerous alcoholic beverages in most countries of the world, including Bacardi rum, Martini and Duval pastis. Darmon and Girosport are companies which negotiate on behalf of TF1 for television retransmission rights for football matches. Relying on the alleged fact that Darmon and Girosport put pressure on foreign football clubs to refuse to allow Bacardi’s brand names to appear on advertising hoardings around sports stadia, Bacardi sought an order in the French courts that Darmon, Girosport and TF1 should cease that conduct as being incompatible with Article 59 of the Treaty. After that application was rejected both at first instance and on appeal, Bacardi appealed on a point of law. As it was in doubt as to the compatibility with Community law of the French rules prohibiting television advertising for alcoholic beverages marketed in France, in the case of indirect television advertising resulting from the appearance on screen of hoardings visible during the retransmission of bi-national sporting events taking place in other Member States, the Court of Cassation stayed the proceedings and referred the issue to the ECJ. According to that court's ruling today,

"1. The first sentence of Article 2(2) of Council Directive 89/552 does not preclude a Member State from prohibiting television advertising for alcoholic beverages marketed in that State, in the case of indirect television advertising resulting from the appearance on screen of hoardings visible during the retransmission of bi-national sporting events taking place in the territory of other Member States.

That kind of indirect television advertising is not to be classed as ‘television advertising’ within the meaning of Articles 1(b), 10 and 11 of the directive.

2. Article 59 of the EC Treaty (now, after amendment, Article 49 EC) does not preclude a Member State from prohibiting television advertising for alcoholic beverages marketed in that State, in the case of indirect television advertising resulting from the appearance on screen of hoardings visible during the retransmission of bi-national sporting events taking place in other Member States".

The IPKat notes that, where health and public welfare considerations are involved, brand promotion continues to be of lower priority.

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