Hard liquor is making a comeback.
In response to the beer and wine industry's recent rises, Seagrams liquor company has taken the offensive. The liquor industry has had a self-imposed ban on Television advertisements for almost 50 years. Seagrams decided that the ban put them at a disadvantage and recently ran ads on several affiliate stations across the nation. If you've watched any T.V. you know that a similar ban has not been imposed on beer makers.
Beer and wine companies can advertise all they want. At least one out of every five commercials during big sporting events like the Super Bowl are advertising beer, yet no one objects to them. The liquor companies wouldn't mind if all alcohol was banned from television advertising. They don't think people are going to stop drinking, but as the primary form of media, television is the easiest way to get your message to as many people as possible. Seagrams wants new drinkers to consider hard liquor as just as good an option as the public conceives beer and wine to be now. Seagrams objects to the advantage that beer and wine companies get when hard liquor is banned from T.V.
One of the big issues that surfaced in this debate is whether alcohol commercials target people who are under age. When Seagrams mentioned that they were interested in convincing prospective drinkers who have not yet decided what they are going to drink Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) entered the picture. MADD is one of the groups leading the fight against Seagrams. MADD argues that the hard liquor companies should be banned because they target minors. Having seen the Seagrams Crown Royal commercial I think that beer commercials are geared towards a younger audience.
Who decides whether alcohol is "hard" enough to be liquor? A small difference in proof shouldn't dictate whether certain alcoholic beverages can be advertised on T.V. If you drink enough beer you get just as intoxicated as you would from drinking liquor.
There are only two possible solutions: One, to all liquor companies advertise, and two, to ban the advertisement of any alcohol whatsoever.
Let's give Seagrams what they want, and in the process make America
better off. Get rid of all advertisements for any kind of alcoholic
beverage. If alcohol is not popularized in front of youth all
the time the chance that they'll start drinking early is seriously
Alcohol. Alcohol is a major cause of death among teenagers. It contributes significantly to motor vehicle crashes, other injuries, suicide,
date rape, and family, school and other problems. It makes no sense to encourage children to drink beer or hard liquor. Nevertheless, the
FTC recently found that the alcohol industry often advertises to audiences with large numbers of children. According to their report to
Congress, "alcohol product placement has occurred in "'PG' and 'PG-13' films with significant appeal to teens and children (including
films with animal and 'coming-of-age' themes); in films for which the advertiser knew that the primary target market included a sizeable
underage market; and on eight of the 15 TV shows most popular with teens."
Anheuser-Busch Co., the world's largest brewer, uses child-enticing cartoon images of frogs, dogs, penguins and lizards in ads for Budweiser beer. These Budweiser cartoon characters are hugely popular with children. Last year, a KidCom marketing study found these Budweiser cartoon character ads are the American children's favorite ads.
In June, 1996, Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons Co. broke a 48 year old voluntary ban on advertising hard liquor on television. Five months later, the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) re-wrote its Code of Good Practice to allow its member distillers to advertise on radio and television. Even if such TV ads are aired only after 9 or 10 PM, they may still reach millions of American children.
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