ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
ALCOHOL LAW ADVISOR
Regulatory and Distribution Law Updates for the Alcohol Industry
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Alcohol Advertising in Digital Media, Part 4: Industry Self-Regulation

Alcohol beverage suppliers were among the first U.S. business sectors to embrace self-regulation of advertising and marketing in the 1930s and 1940s.  Voluntary codes have evolved from simple commitments to truthful advertising to comprehensive guidance documents containing mechanisms for independent review of consumer complaints. Compliance with voluntary industry codes does not absolve an advertiser from compliance with laws and regulations covered in Part 2 and Part 3 of this series.  The codes cover areas that would be difficult for government to regulate such as non-misleading advertising content, which enjoys significant First Amendment protection.  The codes also provide best practices in minimizing exposure of persons under the legal drinking age to alcohol advertising. As indicated in Part 1 of this series, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) views compliance with voluntary codes as an essential part of an alcohol beverage advertising and marketing...

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Alcohol Advertising in Digital Media, Part 3: State Regulation

In Part 2 of this series, we highlighted recent developments in federal regulation and oversight of alcohol beverage advertising with implications for digital media.  State alcohol and consumer protection laws also apply and can make regional or national ad campaigns challenging. An overarching concern to state officials is the potential appeal of alcohol beverage advertising to persons below the legal drinking age.  In the digital space state attorneys general and regulators quickly responded to the advent of social media and asserted authority to prevent dissemination of inappropriate advertising content to children.  Attorneys general signed consent agreements on alcohol and tobacco advertising with Facebook, MySpace and several other social networks in 2008.  As a result, the networks developed technology to limit access to alcohol advertising content to registered users over the age of 21.  Advertisers must ensure that they set up their social network...

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Alcohol Advertising in Digital Media, Part 2: Federal Regulation

This past year brought examples of federal regulation and oversight of social media.  Both illustrate the general policy concerns of federal agencies that regulate alcohol beverage advertising. TTB Industry Circular 2013-1, reviews the application of TTB regulations to beer, wine and spirits advertising in social media and other forms of digital advertising.  TTB’s primary concerns are the clear disclosure of the company responsible for an advertisement and prohibiting communication of false and misleading information.   The circular makes clear that TTB’s advertising regulations apply to digital advertising, including user-generated content.  Helpful references are provided to key sections of TTB advertising regulations for beer, wine and spirits. FTC 2012 Special Order (FTC Matter No. P104518) requested a broad range of information on advertising expenditures and practices from companies in the alcohol beverage industry to make sure that they comply with...

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Alcohol Advertising in Digital Media, Part 1: Overview

Tremendous opportunities exist for advertising brands, events and other promotional activities in digital media, which includes traditional web sites, social networks and integrated advertising platforms.  Properly executed marketing efforts provide great flexibility to reach and interact with adults of legal drinking age on a range of devices.  “Properly executed” is the key, particularly in digital media where campaigns can go from the conceptual stage to dissemination to millions of consumers in a matter of days. Many professionals in the rapidly evolving media landscape grew up in a culture of free expression unparalleled in human history and several generations removed from the post- Prohibition mindset that inspired existing restrictions on alcohol advertising.  Those who are anxious to use their creative talents in alcohol beverage advertising campaigns must become familiar with unique federal and state laws governing alcohol advertising as well as...

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