Alcohol brands are welcomed to participate in social media marketing, but -- just as they ask of customers -- they are being encouraged to partake responsibly.
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States this week issued new guidelines for what they call "responsible" alcohol advertising and marketing on social networking sites and other digital communications platforms.
Effective Sept. 30, the guidelines apply to all branded digital marketing communications, including social networking sites, Web sites, blogs, mobile communications and other applications.
Developed jointly by DISCUS and the European Forum for Responsible Drinking, the guidelines require "age-gating" -- which ask consumers to confirm their ages before marketers can engage them in direct dialogue. There are also privacy policies to improve protections regarding data collection and use of personal information.
Social media has become an increasingly important marketing channel to reach adult consumers of legal purchase age," said Peter Cressy, DISCUS president. "These new digital guidelines reflect our companies' strong commitment to extend their responsible marketing practices to these emerging media platforms."
Cressy noted that the distillers' code of responsible practices for beverage alcohol advertising and marketing has been in place for over 76 years and has been regularly updated to address changes in technology and societal mores.
Additional guidelines include regular monitoring of brand pages and sites and removal of inappropriate user-generated content; clearly identifying brand marketing as such in digital marketing communications and product promotions; and visible instructions urging individuals to forward downloadable digital content only to adults.
Signaling spirit sellers' increased interest in social media, Diageo this week entered into a "multimillion-dollar" advertising partnership with Facebook. Per the deal, Diageo is expected to work closely with Facebook on ways to better market Smirnoff and Guinness to customers.
For more than a year, Diageo has been using Facebook for advertising and promotions. It has reportedly found through Nielsen basket-scanning research that certain campaigns for brands, including Smirnoff and Bailey,s boosted offline purchases by as much as 20% domestically.