The furor those ads and others from alcoholic beverage marketers caused continues unabated. Language inserted into appropriations bills just before Congress adjourned, at the requests of U.S. Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D. Mass.) and Sen. Robert Byrd (D., W.Va.), asks the FTC to "emphasize" alcoholic beverage marketing and also provides money to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services for funding a scientific study of "the effects of television advertising on youth alcohol consumption."
Rep. Kennedy said he wants the FTC to study how often, when and in what kind of programming ads run, as well as what part of the viewing audience of those ads is under 21.
Ad groups are not concerned about the legislative language, stating that it actually reinforces that the FTC, not the Federal Communication Commission, should be examining alcoholic beverage ad issues.
The FCC has been considering its own examination of the subject.
The earlier FTC probe (AA, Jan. 6) was aimed at Stroh Brewery Co., Miller Brewing Co. and Anheuser-Busch, and all three subsequently pulled their ads from MTV. The FTC has declined comment on the status of that probe.
The new Beer Institute ad code requires at least semiannual monitoring of audience demographics to ensure that brewers' advertising is reaching an adult audience.
"Brewers are committed to the policy and practice of responsible advertising and marketing directed to persons of legal purchase age," reads one new section of the code. "To facilitate this commitment, viewer composition data shall reflect those viewers over the legal purchase age."
The revised code gives no target percentage of adult viewers.
Brewers also changed their code to require that Internet sites and ads aim at adults; that companies provide a list of their sites to any parent who asks so the parent can block the pages; and that brewers' Web pages contain specific