The advertising of alcohol brands on television is one of the major sources of income for Ukrainian television channels, as well as one of the favourite marketing tools used by alcohol producers. However, this is now under threat.

The problem stems from an action brought before the Kiev Commercial Court by the Human Charity Fund and the Committee for Protection of Rights of Financial Services Consumers, seeking a ban on the advertisement of alcohol brands on television. The Kiev Commercial Court refused to accept the lawsuit, stating that such cases fall within the competence of the courts of general jurisdiction. However, according to the plaintiffs' representatives, it will not take long to file a lawsuit with a court of general jurisdiction.

Under Ukrainian law, television advertising of alcohol is prohibited. However, alcohol producers have avoided this ban by stating that it is not alcohol that they advertise on television, but merely alcohol trademarks. Thus, in their opinion they are not directly affected by the ban when advertising the trademarks of their products.

The plaintiffs assert that the opposite is in fact true, as they believe that in practice consumers perceive the advertisement of alcohol brands as that of alcoholic beverages themselves.

In November 2001 the Parliament attempted to prohibit alcohol and tobacco advertising in all information media, but the president vetoed the law. This time it appears likely that, if the case goes to court, the case will be decided on the merits in the plaintiffs' favour.

For further information on this topic please contact Igor Svechkar or Dmytro Fedoruk at Shevchenko, Didkovskiy & Partners by telephone (+380 44 230 6000) or by fax (+380 44 230 6001) or by email ([email protected]).