US, EU alcohol marketers adopt new code of conduct

The Facebook website is displayed on a laptop computer. Leading distillers in the United States and Europe on Friday will enact new social media marketing guidelines they said would promote responsible drinking.

Leading distillers in the United States and Europe on Friday will enact new social media marketing guidelines they said would promote responsible drinking.

The guidelines, developed by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) and the European Forum for , limit marketing to websites in which "at least 71.6% of the audience is reasonably expected to be of the legal purchase age," which in the United States is 21.

That would include Facebook, where the estimated over-21 audience is 82.22 percent, , where it is 86.86 percent, and , with 80.96 percent, DISCUS said in a statement, citing Nielsen ratings from August.

The new guidelines include a revised privacy policy, a commitment to root out inappropriate user-generated material from websites and instructions urging users to forward downloadable only to adults 21 and up.

"Social media has become an increasingly important marketing channel to reach adult consumers of legal purchase age," DISCUS president Peter Cressy said in a statement.

"These new digital guidelines reflect our companies’ strong commitment to extend their responsible marketing practices to these emerging media platforms."

The two spirits groups include US brands Bacardi and Beam, Britain's Diageo -- maker of Guinness, Johnnie Walker and Smirnoff -- and France's Pernod Ricard, Moet Hennessy and Remy Cointreau.

Alcohol Justice, a San Francisco-based group that aims to curtail alcohol promotion, slammed the new guidelines, which research director Sarah Mart called "a new low point in Big Alcohol self-regulation."

"Big Alcohol is spending more than ever before to exploit users, particularly young people, by digitally befriending them and seamlessly integrating alcohol brands into their online lives," Mart said in a statement.

"Meanwhile, the industry front group keeps spinning the same old self-regulation rhetoric for members to hide behind."

Related Stories

Study: Regulate alcohol marketing

date May 02, 2006

The U.S. alcohol industry snares too many underage drinkers and its marketing practices should be federally regulated, a Columbia University study concludes.

Youth exposure to alcohol ads in magazines declining

date Aug 10, 2010

Youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines declined by 48 percent between 2001 and 2008, according to a new study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public ...

Alcohol ads still reaching youth on the radio

date Sep 14, 2011

Almost 1 out of 11 radio ads for alcoholic beverages in 75 markets across the nation in 2009 failed to comply with the alcohol industry’s voluntary standard for the placement of advertising, according to an analysis ...

Nations pledge crackdown on online alcohol ads

date May 20, 2010

(AP) -- Countries around the world are pledging to get tough with companies that market beer and liquor on social media networks such as Facebook, warning that such promotions threaten to entice a new generation into harmful ...

Recommended for you

Soldiers cite 'Medic!' as a top hearing priority

date 3 hours ago

'Medic!', 'Hold fire!' and grid references are amongst the highest priorities for soldiers to be able to hear while on duty, according to new research from the University of Southampton.

New measures identified for newborn care in Uganda

date 3 hours ago

In Uganda, child mortality rates are improving, but progress is slower for deaths occurring in the first four weeks of life, or the newborn period, and for stillbirths. But recent evidence from local researchers ...

Should men cut back on their soy intake?

date 6 hours ago

Recently, a friend called my husband to inquire about the risks for men in consuming too much soy milk. He had read an article that described how one individual's plight led him down the path of breast enlargement, and was ...

Probing Question: What is umami?

date 7 hours ago

The next time you're at a dinner party and want to spice up the conversation, you might compliment the hosts on their umami-rich appetizers. Then wait a moment until someone invariably asks, "What's umami?"

User comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.