The "results of this evaluation suggest that the alcohol
industry has not consistently met its 2003 self-regulatory
standards," according to the study, which is published in CDC's
Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report for Nov. 8.
Frank Coleman, senior VP of liquor trade group Distilled Spirits
Council of the U.S., responded in a statement that "DISCUS member
companies rigorously comply with the 71.6% adult demographic
required by our industry Code. The FTC regularly monitors our
advertising and has concluded that our ads are directed to adults.
In fact, the DISCUS Code has been held up as a model of
self-regulation and corporate social responsibility."
Joe McClain, president of the Beer Institute, an industry trade
group, said in a statement that "once again, a CAMY study is rooted
in shaky ground, with taxpayers footing the bill for the group's
anti-alcohol advocacy." He said that brewers and beer importers
"take the task of responsible advertising very seriously and
actively work with educators, parents, law enforcement and
policymakers to further reduce the country's underage drinking
rate, which is at a record-low level," pointing to research
posted on the Anheuser-Busch InBev web site.
The CAMY study looked at ad placements in 2010 for 40 programs
covering network sports, network non-sports, cable sports and cable
non-sports that were known to have large youth audiences. The
programs in which the violations occurred included "Keeping Up with
the Kardashians" on E!, "Tosh.0" on Comedy Central and "Deadliest Warrior" on
Spike, David Jernigan, the director of CAMY, said in an interview.
The study used Nielsen data to assess exposure in the 25 markets
that account for about half of the U.S. population ages 12-20
living in homes with TVs. Violations were highest in Houston
(31.5%), Los Angeles (30%) and Dallas (29.7%).
The findings show that the industry is "not taking into account
local market dynamics because we found such a high rate of ads on
programs that exceeded the industry threshold. We found them
particularly on non-sports cable [shows]," Mr. Jernigan said. (The
industry uses national demographic data,
according to its code.)
CAMY supports a proposal the Federal Trade Commission put forth
in 1999 calling for the industry to develop "no-buy" lists banning
alcohol ads on TV shows and other media that "are likely to have
disproportionately large underage audiences." CAMY has also pushed
for the industry to tighten its threshold to bar booze ads on shows
in which more than 15% of the audience is ages 12-20.
The beer and liquor industry tightened its threshold from 30% to
28.4% in 2011 to reflect 2010 Census data showing that 71.6% of the
U.S. population is 21 years of age and older.