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Alcohol Advertisements – Mostly Compliant. But Rules Are Ambiguous

by | Nov 29, 2013 | alcohol beverage law

Two recent studies discuss alcohol advertising. The first, in Reuters, notes that “advertising for alcoholic beverages in magazines is largely in line with rules set by the U.S. government and industry, though in some cases just barely, according to a new study.” Researchers from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health determined that about 98 percent of alcohol ads in magazines between 2008 and 2010 met federal and industry standards.

Meanwhile, The Spirits Business noted that while only 1% of magazine advertisements violated regulations, a number contained what was deemed “questionable content” thanks to ambiguous rules. Specifically, sexual representation in alcohol advertisements may not be subject to clear guidelines and that “compliance is largely a non-issue” due to the blurred definition of standards.

“According to US federal standards, alcohol adverts cannot make false statements and any representations should not be judged as obscene or indecent, nor contain claims to benefit health. Meanwhile, the US Beer Institute and Distilled Spirits Council state that advertisements should not represent “promiscuity, gratuitous nudity, degrading images, or excessive consumption”.

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