DISCUS updates advertising guidelines

02 June, 2011

The Distilled Spirits Council in the US (DISCUS) has increased the demographic placement standard in its Code of Responsible Advertising Practices. The change reflects the 2010 Census data, which shows that 71.6% of the US population is 21 years of age and older. The previous demographic was 70%.

Peter Cressy, president of DISCUS, said: “The Census is the most comprehensive, objective and reliable survey of the current demographics of the US population.  As such, it provides a sound, fact-based measure for making advertising placement decisions.

“In the spirit of our commitment to responsible advertising, this new demographic percentage will apply prospectively to all new purchases of advertising.”

Under the new demographic guideline, beverage alcohol advertising and marketing should be placed in media only where at least 71.6 percent of the audience is reasonably expected to be above the legal purchase age (21+).  The previous demographic standard was 70 percent 21+ which also was grounded in the 2000 Census data.

Jodie Bernstein, former director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection added: “DISCUS members voluntarily adhere to a rigorous set of standards against which they are regularly measured.  A Census-based demographic standard reflecting the percentage of the population age 21 years and older has been supported by the Federal Trade Commission as evidenced in its 2008 Report. The DISCUS Code is a living document that frequently is reviewed and revised to stay current with modern society and technology as demonstrated by the decision taken today.”

A key recommendation of the FTC’s 2008 report was that the industry should review its placement standard when the results of the 2010 Census became available.

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