Attorney General Demands Action on US ‘Malternative’ Ads

18 July 2002

Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal is calling on the Federal Trade Commission to ensure that ads for malt-based alcoholic beverages do not appeal to teenagers and are not broadcast during teen-friendly shows.

Blumenthal, one of the figures behind the 46-state lawsuit against the tobacco industry, warned liquor companies they could be next in line for legal action.

To avoid this scenario, the attorney general wants drinks firms to introduce voluntary guidelines to make sure ads for sweet-tasting ‘malternatives’ such as Smirnoff Ice and Bacardi Silver do not reach a young audience.

Blumenthal was speaking at a press conference held by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, which unveiled a new report that suggests teenagers watching malternative ads consider them commercials for associated liquors such as Smirnoff vodka and Bacardi rum.

The FTC has already completed an investigation into malternatives with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, in which the CSPI’s claim that the drinks are “targeted to minors” was rejected.

Data sourced from:; additional content by WARC staff