September 21st, 2011

New Rules for Alcohol Companies to Advertise and Market on Social Networks

Wall Street Journal

Alcohol marketers are going to have to start carding at the door to their social networking fan pages.

Starting Sept. 30, spirits makers in the U.S. and Europe will be held to a new set of self-regulatory guidelines for advertising and marketing on social networking sites and other digital media designed to prevent marketing their products to kids.

The new rules require restricting access to spirits makers’ official brand pages on social networking sites, like Facebook, to adults who are of legal drinking age. Marketers also are required to monitor those sites for inappropriate content and to promote responsible drinking.

“What you have is distilled alcohol brands stepping up and saying, ‘We want to do things in a socially responsible way when it comes to advertising alcohol,’” says Hemanshu Nigam, chief executive of online safety and privacy firm SSP Blue. Mr. Nigam works as a digital marketing advisor to the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), which developed the new guidelines in coordination with the European Forum for Responsible Drinking.

Bacardi rum, for instance, already lists a series of “house rules” on its Facebook page. The company says that it can moderate videos and photos before they are published on the alcohol-brand’s page and says that content published on its site must not appeal to or depict people younger than the legal age purchasing alcohol, show situations where alcohol is being consumed “excessively or in an irresponsible manner” or show people “in a state of intoxication,” among other restrictions.

Read more: http://on.wsj.com/rk2Wyz

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