Friday, March 13, 2009

CBS Drops Ban on Liquor Ads

Since 1996, network television stations have participated in a voluntary ban on liquor advertisements*. But on February 9, CBS effectively dropped its longstanding voluntary ban when CBS-owned stations and affiliates ran a prime-time promotion for Absolut vodka during the Grammy Awards show.

There was certainly a youth audience at this event, since performers at the 2009 Grammys included 16 year old Miley Cyrus, 18 year old Taylor Swift, and teen favorites the Jonas Brothers, who had just headlined the Disney Kids Inaugural Concert.

We are also concerned that, in their search for funding, network stations may continue to turn to liquor advertisements for income.

According to the Center for Science in the Public Interest:
  • Children and teens already view a disproportionately large number of alcohol ads on broadcast media that glamorizes and encourages drinking. In 2007, 12-20 year-old youths were exposed to 38% more alcohol advertisements than they were 6 years earlier. On average, teens are exposed to 301 television ads for alcohol annually, up from an average of 216 in 2001.

  • Young people’s awareness of alcohol directly translates into stronger intentions to drink as an adult. Studies as early as 1994 showed that alcohol advertising can predispose young people to drink.

  • In 2007, the liquor industry spent over $118 million on television ads, almost a 4,000% increase since 1999.3 Underage drinking increased during that same time period.

Let the local and national CBS stations know about your concern by contacting them. Some talking points are here, and some more background on the issue here .

*Prior to 1996 the ban was legally mandated.

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