Anti-Liquor Ad Group Predicts Hearings

A week after producing new research that claims teens are being unfairly targeted by new “malternative” product ads, the director of a major policy advocate says Capitol Hill hearings on the topic could start as early as next year.

George Hacker, director of alcohol policy at the Center For Science in the Public Interest, says that during the past week he has met with several representatives of lawmakers who are interested in pursuing the issue of alcohol advertising on TV. It is the CSPI’s position that the new breed of “alcopops” such as Smirnoff Ice and Mike’s Hard Lemonade are crossing the line between beer and hard liquor and should be more closely regulated in their ability to advertise on TV.

“This new category bears the brand names of major hard liquor advertisers and as such they are a back door to advertising hard liquor,” says Hacker. “All the unaided and aided recall surveys we did show that teens equate these products with liquor, not beer.”

The CSPI research claims that teens have a high awareness level of the new “alcopops.” The TV network standards of relegating the ads to after 9 p.m. doesn’t help, it claims. More than 77% of all teens surveyed said they watch TV after nine from Sunday to Thursday.

Hacker stopped short of saying that his group would work stop “alcopop” ads. He did urge advertisers and their agencies to be more considerate of the creative and placement for the ads.

“Take a look at the content,” he says. “It pushes every button for them. Sex. Rebellion. Independence. The you should think about the placement, primarily in sporting events. Kids are watching that, but the ads are aimed primarily adults.”

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