CSPI Press Releases -- Reject Televison Advertising of Distilled Spirits
WHAT'S NEW -- CSPI PRESS RELEASES
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: August 28, 1996
Contact: George Hacker, ext. 343
CSPI TO DISTILLERS: REJECT
The Center for Science in the Public Interest has called on leading American
distilled-spirits producers and distributors to continue respecting the
industry's longstanding, voluntary ban on television liquor advertising. In a
letter to the companies' chief executives, CSPI urged that they not follow the
lead of the Seagram Company, which broke the 48-year ban in June by
launching a month-long advertising campaign for Crown Royal Canadian
Whiskey on the NBC-TV affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas.
The Director of CSPI's Alcohol Policies Project, George Hacker, pointed to
government data reporting high levels of alcohol consumption and substantial
alcohol-related problems among high school students. Hacker advised the
companies to "help keep the youth-oriented television medium off-limits to
liquor ads that can lead only to a greater saturation of the airwaves with
seductive messages that encourage drinking."
Earlier this month, CSPI coordinated an open letter to Seagram CEO Edgar
Bronfman, Jr., protesting that company's abandonment of the "good
practice" ban on TV liquor advertising instituted almost a half-century ago by
the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States. That letter, signed by 12
members of Congress and 43 health, safety, consumer, and religious
organizations, appeared as a full-page ad in the August 2 edition of the New
York Times. The ad urged members of the public to phone Mr. Bronfman to
express disapproval of Seagram's TV campaign.
The Seagram Company has not responded to the published letter, and it is
unclear whether the company plans further television advertising. The
Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has begun a review of its current
guidelines, which discourage such advertising.
The letter to the CEOs warned of continuing controversy if TV liquor
advertising persists, noting the opposition to it by groups such as the American
Medical Association and Mothers Against Drunk Driving and the move in
Congress to limit alcohol advertising. Following the onset of Seagram's
Corpus Christi venture, which aired on KRIS-TV, Joseph P. Kennedy II
introduced legislation, supported by 12 other Representatives, to ban all liquor
ads from radio and television.
In a June 15 radio address, President Clinton also came out against liquor
advertising on television, asking distillers to "get back to the ban" and "Pull
For more information on Seagrams, click here.
# # #
Since 1981, CSPI's Alcohol Policies Project has promoted public and private policies to
reduce the societal toll of alcohol problems. It led the successful effort to require health
warnings on containers and campaigned for two rounds of increases in federal taxes on liquor,
and one on beer and wine. Its groundbreaking publications, The Booze Merchants and
Marketing Booze to Blacks helped launch the national movement to reform the advertising and
promotion of alcoholic beverages.
CSPI is a nonprofit, health-advocacy organization based in Washington, DC. Founded in 1971,
it is well known for its nutrition studies of restaurant food and for obtaining the "Nutrition
Facts" panel on packaged foods. CSPI accepts no industry or government funding. It is
supported largely by the 750,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Newsletter.
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