Industry Council Offers Guidelines For Spirits Marketing


The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) has issued new guidelines for alcohol advertising and marketing on social networking sites and other digital communications platforms.

Developed jointly by DISCUS and another industry group, the European Forum for Responsible Drinking, the guidelines suggest "Age-gating" before direct dialogue between advertisers and consumers as well as privacy policies that protect consumers from data collection and use of personal information by advertisers.

The guidelines also call for brands to monitor their pages and sites, remove inappropriate user-generated content and make brand marketing obvious where it might be considered content -- on blogs, for example. Spirits makers are also being asked to make instructions clear that urge individuals to only forward downloadable digital content to adults 21 years of age or older.



The DISCUS Code says alcohol advertising and marketing should be placed in media only where at least 71.6% of the audience is reasonably expected to be of the legal purchase age -- which would open Facebook and Twitter to such products based on DISCUS parameters, since the group says that per Nielsen's data, Facebook's audience is 82.22% 21 years of age or older; the Twitter audience was 86.86% 21 or over; and the YouTube audience was 80.96% 21 or over.

Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy said in a statement, that the 76-year-old distillers' "Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing" gets updated when media technology and channels require it, and that compliance by spirits companies who are DISCUS members has always been universal.

Jodie Bernstein, former Director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection and an Outside Advisor to the DISCUS Code Review Board said in the release: "These new digital guidelines underscore the distilled spirits industry's commitment to uphold responsible advertising practices that stay current with modern society and technology. The distilled spirits industry has carved a path for responsible corporate citizenship. Other industries have followed their lead and they should."


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