WASHINGTON, DC – The Distilled Spirits Council (DISCUS) today issued its 11th and 12th Semi-Annual Code Report detailing complaints involving alcohol advertisements, actions taken by the industry’s internal review board and the response by each advertiser.
“It’s been five years since we issued our first Code Review Report of advertising complaint decisions and the results have been extremely positive,” said Distilled Spirits Council President Peter Cressy. “Incorporating transparency has allowed the public-at-large to better evaluate and appreciate our longstanding Code review process. In fact, industry regulators, watchdogs, critics, and the media have taken notice of the spirits industry’s approach to self-regulation, calling it a model for other industries.”
The 11th Report covers Code Review Board actions for the period of July 2009 through December 2009. Two complaints were received during this timeframe, neither of which was found in violation by the Code Review Board.
The 12th Report covered Code Review Board actions for the period January 2010 through June 2010. The Board received one complaint during this timeframe and the ad was found to be in violation. The advertiser took responsive action by withdrawing the ad based on the ruling of the Code Review Board.
During this reporting period, DISCUS also hosted its third “Best Practices” Media Summit, gathering industry leaders, government officials and media experts from across the country to exchange ideas on responsible advertising practices for traditional and emerging marketing platforms. This year’s Summit recorded the largest turnout to date with over 100 attendees, including companies from all industry segments — beer, wine and spirits.
The director of the Federal Trade Commission’s alcohol advertising program praised the 2010 Summit stating that “[w]e think the DISCUS Best Practices Media Summits are extremely important” and that “DISCUS is to be commended for this ongoing initiative to bring together businesses across the beer, wine and spirits segments to ensure responsible beverage alcohol advertising that is directed to adults.” Nielsen Senior Vice President for Media Tracking commented that “we’re happy to be associated with an organization like DISCUS that really leads the way in responsible advertising. DISCUS and its members are really forward thinking when it comes to being responsible in new and emerging media.”
Adopted in 1934, the DISCUS Code of Responsible Practices for Beverage Alcohol Advertising and Marketing provides for a Code Review Board, comprised of senior member company representatives, that is charged with reviewing complaints about advertising and marketing materials in the marketplace. Additionally, the Code has an advisory board made up of outside independent experts from academia, government and broadcasting.
The distilled spirits industry has been recognized repeatedly for its commitment to effective self-regulation. DISCUS was honored last year by the National Conference of State Liquor Administrators for the spirits industry’s “Best Practices Media Summit.” These free seminars bring together industry leaders, government officials and media representatives from across the country to exchange ideas on responsible advertising practices for traditional and emerging marketing platforms.
Additionally, the Semi-Annual Code Report was the recipient of PR News Corporate Social Responsibility award for best Business Ethics Communications, and was a finalist for Best Corporate Social Responsibility Program for the American Business AwardsSM.