Ask Your Representative to Sign a "Dear Colleague" letter
Calling for a Congressional Hearing on
the Impact of Television Alcohol Advertising on Children

The alcoholic-beverage industry’s voluntary advertising "standards" do little to prevent the routine targeting of massive underage television audiences with hip, funny, seductive promotions to drink, according to a recent poll conducted for CSPI by the Global Strategies Group. CSPI’s poll found that most 12- to 18-year olds (77%) regularly see and recall alcohol ads aired after 9:00pm on school nights, including commercials for liquor-branded "alcopops" such as Bacardi Silver, Smirnoff Ice, Captain Morgan Gold, and Skyy Blue. The poll further found that teens think commercials for liquor-branded "alcopops" are ads for hard liquor. Moreover, the number and frequency of alcohol ads reaching young people on TV is rapidly expanding due to several developments:

1) Diageo’s recently announced new strategy to sidestep the networks and increase broadcast liquor ads by creating its own "unwired" network (which will reportedly cover 80% of the country);

2) Large proposed TV advertising budgets (up to $450 million this year) for the growing number of new, liquor-branded "alcopops" or "malternatives" (such as Smirnoff Ice, Bacardi Silver, Captain Morgan Gold, Skyy Blue, etc.) which promote liquor brands to underage youth under the same weak voluntary advertising standards as beer, and:

3) The continuing aggressive advertising (more than $700 million in 2000) for beer that regularly reaches millions of underage people. Popular, glitzy, funny, hip, and memorable beer commercials provide a primary – and extremely powerful – source of "education" for young people about alcohol.

Please contact your Member of Congress and ask him or her to sign on to a "Dear Colleague" letter being circulated by Representatives Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA). The letter (attached below) calls for the House Energy and Commerce Committee to schedule a Congressional hearing to examine the impact of television alcohol advertising on underage youth, and the adequacy of voluntary advertising standards in minimizing youth exposure to such promotions. The deadline to sign on to the letter is August 31, 2002.

Please either write to your Representative’s DISTRICT office, or fax his or her Washington office with your request (due to tightened mail security procedures, letters sent to Washington offices take 6 weeks to be delivered).

For further information on this action alert, please contact Kim Miller, Manager of Federal Relations for CSPI Alcohol Policies Project at (202) 332-9110, x338.

[Dear Colleague Letter] [Sample Letter to Congress] [July 16, 2002 Press Conference on Advertising]

July 26, 2002