FTC opens probe into alcohol advertising


The marketing of beer, wine and distilled spirits is on the agenda at the FTC four the fourth time since 1999. Specifically, the agency is seeking comment on the effectiveness of the industry’s voluntary guidelines regarding the exposure of the underaged to its advertising.

FTC says it needs permission from the Office of Management and Budget before it can begin collecting information from the actual companies targeted by the study. However, that is not stopping FTC from soliciting comments from the rest of us, and so it is, with a due date of 4/26/11.

The specific topics FTC wants to placed on the table include:

* The companies’ compliance with voluntary advertising placement provisions, sales, and marketing expenditures;

* The status of third-party review of complaints regarding compliance with voluntary advertising codes; and

* Alcohol industry data-collection practices.

RBR-TVBR observation: The occasional watchdog lament makes it onto the PR wires complaining about alcohol advertising, but in general we have not noticed any great clamoring for federal regulation on this matter. If this topic kicked the FTC gears into motion three times in about a decade with no noticeable regulatory result, we suspect that might be the case once again.

FTC, of course, risks transforming itself into the Department of Reduncancy Department…