Anti alcohol ad advocacy takes Facebook, Diageo to task


Alcohol Justice is dedicated to doing its best to keep exposure to alcohol advertising away from citizens who are not yet old enough to drink. It is highly critical of an advertising pact between Facebook and spirits/malt beverage maker Diageo which it says will promote dangerous drinking to an audience too young to imbibe.

“A new low point in Big Alcohol self-regulation has been reached,” stated Sarah Mart, Director of Research at Alcohol Justice. “First, alcopop and spirits giant Diageo announced a multimillion dollar advertising deal with Facebook to pump up sales with youth-attractive content to promote alcohol brands such as Smirnoff. Next, DISCUS, the D.C.-based front group for huge spirits corporations, trumpets their new ‘guidelines’ for alcohol ads on social networking sites; continuing its charade, as meaningless as the industry’s ‘Drink Responsibly’ campaigns.”

AJ says that the industry standard is an of-age online audience minimum of 71.6%, and says that the underage user base of Facebook is estimated at a third, which should put if off limits.

“We saw this train wreck coming two years ago,” said Mart, lead author of the 2009 article, Alcohol Promotion on Facebook. “Now it’s here; Big Alcohol is spending more than ever before to exploit users, particularly young people, by digitally befriending them and seamlessly integrating alcohol brands into their online lives.  Meanwhile, the industry front group keeps spinning the same old self-regulation rhetoric for members to hide behind.”

According to AJ, Diageo is claiming its Facebook deal is driving a 20% increase in sales. AJ believes that is a result that should lead to shame, not bragging.

Alcohol Justice has undergone a name change. It used to be known as the Marin Institute.

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