Marketing Alcohol – Things to Keep in Mind

Your birthday must be on or before today’s date in 1998 to view this content. If we were advertising or selling alcohol you might see a similar message due to the restrictions put in place for marketing alcoholic beverages. In the US the marketing and advertising of alcoholic beverages and products is regulated by the Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) under the Federal Alcohol Admiration Act (FCC). The legalities surrounding the advertising and marketing alcoholic beverages are put in place to ensure companies aren’t promoting their product to consumers under the legal age for purchase.

The TTB does not review ads prior to them being run, there is no approval process, but they do review complaints from government agencies, the public and/or industry members to ensure that the advertisements are compliant.

Each alcoholic beverage has a different council or institute that governs over it for filing complaints in addition to the FTC who collects complaints about potentially deceptive business practices, but they do not, however, resolve individual complaints.

You can also find each of their advertising and marketing codes to dive further into the guidelines for each council:


Alcohol Advertising Guidelines

It’s a lot to read and take in but fear not, we’re here to provide you with a few things to keep in mind that should help ensure that you stay within the proper guidelines:

  • Media can only be placed where 70% of the audience is over the legal drinking age;
  • Messages shouldn’t be created to appeal to people under the age of 21, for instance using cartoons is frowned upon and highly discouraged;
  • If promoting a “happy hour”, drink specials or “mug clubs” there are restrictions set in place generally limiting to one type of alcoholic beverage per day; happy hour may not exceed a certain number of hours per day or week; and all drink promotions must end by midnight;
  • Promotions (such as contests and games) that encourage binge drinking, drinking in general, or that offer drinks as prizes are prohibited;
  • Communications that involve direct interaction with a user should involve an age verification prior to engaging with them; and
  • If marketing includes collecting user-generated content (“UGC”) it must be moderated on a regular basis. On Facebook it’s recommended to restrict users from posting on the brands page without a review.


General Prohibited Practices

Additionally, there are some general prohibited practices that affect alcoholic advertisements that include, but are not limited to:

  • Misrepresenting analyses, standards, or tests;
  • Guarantees that are misleading, excluding money-back guarantees;
  • Statements falsely telling of health benefits of alcohol;
  • Claims that alcohol is made, sold, or marketed under federal or state regulation;
  • Claims that wine or malt beverages contain distilled spirits;
  • The word pure when advertising distilled spirits, unless it is referring to a specific ingredient.

These are some general guidelines and each State may have additional restrictions so be certain to double-check to make sure you are being compliant before promoting alcoholic beverages on social media. If you have questions or would like help in promoting your product that caters to those over 21 years, contact us by filling out the form below.

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