21st March, 2014 by Lauren Eads
The US drinks industry has been commended for its “robust” and effective self-regulatory system in a report into advertising standards.
The report, the fourth undertaken by the US Federal Trade Commission (FTC), is designed to address concerns about underage exposure to alcohol marketing to ensure effective and responsible advertising by the industry.
It examined the self-regulatory practices of three bodies including the Distilled Spirits Council of the United Stated (DISCUS), the Beer Institute (BI), and the Wine Institute (WI).
In it, DISCUS was commended for its adoption in 2011 of a new standard to ensure all of its members directed at least 71.6% of its advertising to those aged 21 and above.
It also praised the Council for holding ‘media summits’ which bring together representatives of the industry, and for regularly issuing guidelines on marketing practices on digital media.
The report found that more than 93% of advertisements within the spirits category met the 70% 21+ demographic standard.
Peter Cressy, president of DISCUS, said the report “underscores our dedication to high standards, strict compliance and proactive measures to address the new media landscape” and “clearly shows that the spirits industry directs its advertising to adults and is a leader in self-regulation.”
A number of recommendations were made by the FTC which included tougher regulations on radio advertising and external review of complaints received.
He said: “DISCUS will give careful consideration to the recommendations in the report.
“Key to our Code’s success is the willingness to adapt to the changing marketplace and new technology.”
The FTC said a “self-regulatory regime has several advantages over government regulation”, noting that it is more “prompt and flexible than government regulation.”
The Distilled Spirits Council is the trade association representing producers and marketers of distilled spirits sold in the United States.