There are lots of rules when you plan on marketing beer — unless you’re the FCC (there are apparently no rules specific to alcohol on radio). But on television, you can’t even drink a beer in a commercial. Well, the other day, the Beer Institute announced two updates to what it calls the “industry-leading Advertising and Marketing Code.” The code, which includes revisions to the complaints process and model/actor age requirements, can be viewed right over here: www.BeerInstitute.org/responsibility/advertising-marketing-code.
Established in 1938, the Beer Institute’s Advertising and Marketing Code actually has a long history — and a long history of being amended — to meet evolving social, commercial and technological conditions. For example, beer companies were the first to adopt a self-regulatory standard for television advertising in the 1950s. More recently, the code was amended to address internet privacy and social media. In keeping with that tradition, recent updates are as follows:
Athletes, Entertainers and Celebrities: The code has been updated to clarify the age requirements for models and actors employed to appear in beer advertising and marketing materials. While models and actors must still be a minimum of 25 years old and appear to be of legal drinking age, the 25-year-old provision no longer applies to generally recognizable athletes, entertainers and other celebrities who are, and appear to be, of legal drinking age.
Complaints: Following a recommendation from the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the code will now allow any identified individual, company or organization to file a complaint about any brewer’s advertising. The new language also allows for competitor complaints, but continues to bar anonymous complaints.
“The Beer Institute’s voluntary Advertising and Marketing Code is the model of self-regulation and has set a standard of excellence for decades,” said Beer Institute President and CEO Jim McGreevy. “Revisions to the code further modernize it and build on a strong foundation of success. Equally important, they are aimed at providing brewers, beer importers, government and the public with the best objective, verifiable basis for making and evaluating advertising placement decisions.”
In 2014, the FTC reaffirmed the success of this model, stating, “The commission continues to support self-regulation of alcohol marketing to reduce underage targeting.” All Beer Institute members agree to follow the code and respect the decisions of an independent review board as a condition of membership.