Social (Unregulated) Media Now the Primary Ad Platform for Alcohol Producers


Bud Light Phone App

On the heels of Facebook's advertising deal with multinational spirits conglomerate Diageo, Anheuser-Busch/InBev now says that Facebook and other social media sites reach more consumers than TV. Social media platforms offer Big Alcohol the ability to reach smartphone users with targeted ads twice as quickly and user-generated content such as videos. It is this user-generated content that concerns researchers, such as the Australian team that recently expressed concern about how it feeds the culture of excessive drinking. Meanwhile, sites such as Facebook are eager to cash in, setting policies that pander to alcohol advertisers and encourage alcohol consumption through unfettered promotion.

European Facebook chief Erika Mann recently issued a thinly veiled warning to governments not to try to restrict alcohol advertising and content on the social media giant. She instead touted the current useless system of self-regulation that alcohol producers love, because they can use it to promote so-called "responsible use" of their products, overexposing children to their advertising while claiming to protect them. Under self-regulation, the industry writes its own advertising codes, and there are no consequences for violating them. It's time to demand external, third-party regulators to implement and enforce sensible, protective regulations that reduce advertising to youth and prevent promoting excessive consumption.

Click here to download these AJ reports on Facebook alcohol promotion and industry self-regulation:

Alcohol Promotion on Facebook

Why Big Alcohol Can't Police Itself: A Review of Advertising Self-Regulation in the Distilled Spirits Industry