3 June 2018AmericasDaniel Sanchez and Victor Ramirez

Not in the right spirit

In Mexico, the Federal Commission for Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS) is the agency in charge of monitoring compliance of the legal framework that regulates the alcohol beverages industry; its key mandate is to “prevent any possible health risks”.

On December 20, 2017, COFEPRIS published on its official website the “Guidelines for the analysis of alcoholic beverages advertisement applications”; according to the first article, these guidelines serve the purpose of “consolidating the criteria for the analysis of advertisement authorisation applications for alcohol beverages in Mexico”.

According to the legal framework regulating the alcohol beverages industry in Mexico, all advertisers must apply for and obtain authorisation from COFEPRIS before launching their adverts.

The General Health Law (GHL) and the Advertising Regulation for the Mexican Health Law (ARHL) provide the guidelines that have to be taken into consideration by industry members.

Mexico’s advertisement regulation is among the strictest, as the official interpretation of the rules has been expansive, to the detriment of industry members.


The basic rules of the current regulation for alcohol beverages advertising in Mexico include:

Product advertisement and sponsorship advertisement cannot be related (nor by common images, sounds, phrases or look and feel).

No handling of the product (beer or other alcoholic beverages).

No real or apparent drinking.

No promotion of ‘excessive’ drinking (several drinks per person).

No communication of success, prestige, fame, joy, relaxing or personal relationships.

The basic don’ts for alcohol beverages advertising in Mexico include:

Handling the product.

Real drinking/consumption.

Apparent drinking/consumption.

Promoting excessive drinking (more than one drink per person).

Use of imperatives or phrases that promote drinking.

Appealing to an underage public or related to religious or civic celebrations.

Communicating success, prestige, fame, joy, relaxing or personal relationships while displaying product.

Suggesting the product determines or modifies a conduct, mood, or emotion.

The guidelines recently set forth by COFEPRIS should serve only as a guide for the interpretation of the Health Law and its Regulations on Advertisement, with the aim that junior authorities apply uniform criteria when examining advertising projects.

Due to the wording and structure of its articles, this does not seem to be the real purpose of the new guidelines. Instead, it seems that COFEPRIS is seeking to impose on industry members additional requirements and compliance costs for the prosecution of advertisement authorisations.

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