FTC reports on alcohol ad codes

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The Federal Trade Commission's report, released to the public today, on the alcohol industry's compliance with its own industry ad codes cites no specific problem but urges the industry to take major additional steps to limit its messages' impact on children. One new step suggested in the report is that the industry limit its ads to programming with much more of an adult audience. Although the Beer Institute's current code suggests ads not be in media where "most of the audience is reasonably expected to be below the [minimum alcohol] purchase age," the FTC is asking the alcohol industry to aim higher. An institute spokesman said brewers' ads generally appear on programming whose adult share is well over 50%. The FTC also recommends that the alcohol industry allow independent review of its enforcement of its ad codes; develop a "set of best practices" applying across the board to all three separate codes that the beer, wine and distilled liquor segments now have in place; prohibit ads that have "substantial appeal" to kids even if the ads also appeal to adults or are targeted to people 25 or older; and limit product placement to R and NC-17 rated films.

Copyright September 1999, Crain Communications Inc.

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