Heineken has attacked a French court ruling that declared its website illegal under France’s alcohol advertising laws.
A Paris Court of Appeal judge last week banned Heineken from producing any new adverts on its French internet site, www.heineken.fr (now off line), in a civil case instigated by France’s National Association for the Prevention of Alcoholism and Addiction (ANPAA).
Setting a potentially difficult precedent for alcoholic drinks makers in France, the judge also ruled that internet adverts were not authorised under the country’s alcohol advertising rules.
That is because the law governing alcohol ads, the ‘Loi Evin’, was originally introduced in 1991, before the internet existed.
Heineken’s French arm, Heineken Entreprise, has taken its website offline and called the Paris court decision “worrying”. The brewer was also banned from using its ‘for a fresher world’ slogan on ads, because it implied drinking could make the world seem a better place.
Heineken said it was considering an appeal against both decisions.
Group vice president Pascal Sabrié added the first ruling was “highly prejudicial and totally unsuited to the realities of communication and economic exchanges today”. He said that, instead of banning internet adverts, it was time to build the internet into existing laws.