Marin Institute Publishes New Guide For Regulating Alcohol Advertising

Contact: Michael Scippa 415/257-2490
Jorge Castillo 415/257-2488

Critical Tool for Advocates and Policymakers to Protect Youth

SAN RAFAEL, CA (April 8, 2009) – Marin Institute, the alcohol industry watchdog, today released the country’s first guide to restricting out-of-home (OOH) alcohol advertising. The guide will help policymakers draft effective state and local laws to minimize youth exposure to ubiquitous alcohol advertising in the 21st Century.

“Decades of research and common sense tell us that the more often youth are exposed to alcohol ads, the more likely they are to drink,” stated Marin Institute’s Research and Policy Director Michele Simon. “Marin Institute’s new guide offers new tools to local and state advocates and lawmakers to enact legally-defensible policies to protect youth from harmful messages that lead to problem drinking.”

Out-of-home advertising encompasses traditional billboards, ads plastered on public transit vehicles, buildings and “street furniture” such as newspaper stands and kiosks, as well as new high-tech options like video display terminals, digital billboards, and ambient advertising. Spending on such advertising venues grew to over $8 billion dollars in 2008, with the alcohol industry being one of the largest purchasers.

“These alcohol ads reach kids waiting in line at a grocery store, riding the bus to school, or walking to the library,” said Marin Institute Executive Director, Bruce Livingston. “They cannot be avoided by flipping a channel or turning a page. Nor can parents protect kids from them. Out-of-home ads are planting dangerous messages into the developing brains of a vulnerable captive audience.”

Examples of current local and state alcohol advertising laws that can serve as models are offered, as well as an explanation of commercial speech and the First Amendment. The guide also describes the difference between public and private property and how advocates can push for legally-defensible laws in their communities.

“For too long, the alcohol industry and media owners have claimed absolute free speech protection to their harmful message aimed at youth” added Simon. “This Guide dispels that myth and offers local communities viable options for protecting youth and others.”

Download Out-Of-Home Alcohol Advertising, A 21st-Century Guide to Effective Regulation


Marin Institute
24 Belvedere St., San Rafael, CA 94901