Blog: Chris Brook-CarterFAB news

Chris Brook-Carter | 15 September 2003

It is a while since the alcohol industry woke up to good news regarding advertising in the US. But the usual headlines concerning the evils of drinks marketing on the country's youth were put on hold for a day last week when the FTC published its report to congress on the rise of malternatives and the issue of industry self-regulation in advertising.

As most of you will have seen from the news on Wednesday, the FTC declared that it had found no evidence that flavoured malt beverages (FMBs), also known as malternatives, are being intentionally targeted at minors through products, packaging, or advertising.

It also said that self-regulation practices in the alcohol industry had shown improvement since issuance of the 1999 report. Despite this improvement and positive endorsement, the industry in the US has now agreed that in the area of ad placement it will now strive for a 70% adult media audience.

This is a bold target, and although the anti-drinks lobby is a different, altogether more ferocious, animal in the US, one wonders whether it will put pressure on UK advertisers to follow suit. The FTC has clearly been impressed by the lead taken in the US by the industry in this issue, which may well have helped shape the positive tone of the report.

With the UK government ever closer to publishing its draft document on alcohol policy, the UK industry should take note.

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