US Weeklies Face Liquor Ads Headache

23 March 2006

US liquor marketers are under pressure to stop placing ads on the premium-priced inside and back covers of five major magazines.

The Distilled Spirits Council of the US (Discus) has urged its members to withdraw from these prime positions in Time, Sports Illustrated, Newsweek, US News & World Report and People unless the titles can devise a way to strip out the ads in the editions they send to schools and libraries.

Discus has imposed a July deadline for the changes as it pursues its crackdown on advertising standards begun in 2003. At that time it required all member ads to be placed only in media reaching a 70%-adult demographic.

However, questions have been raised about how to assess smaller publications not in surveys and how to ensure the demographic is met.

In a bid to resolve the problems Discus now also requires spirits advertisers to do semiannual, post-audits of their compliance with the 70% standard and, beginning in October, require unmeasured magazines to provide independent demographic circulation.

Comments George Janson, managing partner and director of print at Mediaedge:cia: "It's almost like liquor is becoming the new tobacco."

Data sourced from AdAge (USA); additional content by WARC staff