Advertising & Marketing Code
Beer is a legal beverage meant to be consumed responsibly. Its origins are ancient, and it has held a respected position in nearly every culture and society since the dawn of recorded history. Advertising is a legitimate effort by brewers to make consumers aware of the particular types, brands, and prices of malt beverages that are available.
Three basic principles, which have long been reflected in the policies of the brewing industry, continue to underlie these Guidelines. First, beer advertising should not suggest directly or indirectly that any of the laws applicable to the sale and consumption of beer should not be complied with. Second, brewers should adhere to standard of candor and good taste applicable to all commercial advertising. Third, brewers are responsible corporate citizens, sensitive to the problems of the society in which they exist, and their advertising should reflect that fact.
Brewers strongly oppose abuse or inappropriate consumption of their products. This code contains the voluntary advertising and marketing guidelines subscribed to by the members of the Beer Institute.
1. These guidelines apply to all brewer advertising and marketing materials, including Internet and other cyberspace media. These guidelines do not apply to educational materials or televised, printed or audio messages of a non-brand specific nature; nor to materials or messages designed specifically to address issues of alcohol abuse or underage drinking.
2. Beer advertising and marketing materials should portray beer in a responsible manner.
a. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not portray, encourage or condone drunk driving.
b. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not depict situations where beer is being consumed excessively, in an irresponsible way, or in any way illegally.
c. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not portray persons in a state of intoxication or in any way suggest that intoxication is acceptable conduct.
d. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not portray or imply illegal activity of any kind.
e. Retail outlets or other places portrayed in advertising should be depicted as well kept and respectable establishments.
3. Brewers are committed to the policy and practice of responsible advertising and marketing directed to persons of legal purchase age. To facilitate this commitment, purchases by brewers, directly or indirectly, of Nielsen or other recognized TV viewer composition data shall reflect those viewers over the legal purchase age. Brewers shall review this Nielsen or other recognized TV viewer composition data on a regular basis (at least semi-annually) in order to insure that advertisements are placed in compliance with this code.
4. Beer advertising and marketing materials are intended for adults of legal purchase age who choose to drink.
a. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not employ any symbol, language, music, gesture, or cartoon character that is intended to appeal primarily to persons below the legal purchase age. Advertising or marketing material has a "primary appeal" to persons under the legal purchase age if it has special attractiveness to such persons above and beyond the general attractiveness it has for persons above the legal purchase age, including young adults above the legal purchase age.
b. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not employ any entertainment figure or a group that is intended to appeal primarily to persons below the legal purchase age.
c. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not depict Santa Claus.
d. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not be placed in magazines, newspapers, television programs, radio programs, or other media where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be below the legal purchase age.
e. To help insure that the people shown in beer advertising are and appear to be above the legal purchase age, models and actors employed should be a minimum of 25 years old, substantiated by proper identification, and should reasonably appear to be over 21 years of age.
f. Beer should not be advertised or marketed at any event where most of the audience is reasonably expected to be below the legal purchase age. This guideline does not prevent brewers from erecting advertising marketing at or near facilities that are used primarily for adult-oriented events, but which occasionally may be used for an event where most attendees are under age 21.
g. No beer identification, including logos, trademarks, or names should be used or licensed for use on clothing, toys, games or game equipment, or other materials intended for use primarily by persons below the legal purchase age.
h. Brewers recognize that parents play a significant role in educating their children about the legal and responsible use of alcohol and may wish to prevent their children from accessing Internet Web sites without parental supervision. To facilitate this exercise of parental responsibility, Beer Institute will provide to manufacturers of parental control software the names and Web site addresses of all member-company Web sites. Additionally, brewers will post reminders at appropriate locations in their Web site indicating that brewer products are indented only for those of legal purchase age. These locations include entrance into the Web site, purchase points within the Web site, and access into adult-oriented locations within the Web site, such as virtual bars.
5. Beer consumption is intended as a complement to leisure or social activity. Beer advertising and marketing activities should not associate or portray beer drinking before or during activities in situations which require a high degree of alertness or coordination.
6. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not make exaggerated product representations.
a. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not convey the impression that a beer has special or unique qualities if in fact it does not.
b. Beer advertising and marketing materials should make no scientifically unsubstantiated health claims.
c. Beer may be portrayed to be part of personal and social experiences and activities. Nevertheless, beer advertising and marketing materials should contain no claims or representations that individuals cannot obtain social, professional, educational, athletic or financial success or status without beer consumption; nor should they claim or represent that individuals cannot solve social, personal or physical problems without beer consumption.
7. Beer advertising and marketing materials reflect generally accepted contemporary standards of good taste.
a. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not contain any lewd or indecent language or images.
b. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not portray sexual passion, promiscuity or any other amorous activity as a result of consuming beer.
c. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not employ religion or religious themes.
8. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not disparage competing beers. In the event comparisons are drawn between competing beers, the claims made should be truthful and of value to consumers.
9. Beer advertising and marketing materials should never suggest that competing beers contain objectionable additives or ingredients.
10. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not refer to any intoxicating effect that the product may produce.
11. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not depict the act of drinking.
12. Beer advertising and marketing materials should not show littering or otherwise improper disposal of beer containers, unless the scenes are used clearly to promote anti-littering and/or recycling campaigns.
13. Beer advertising and marketing activities on college and university campuses, or in college media, should not portray consumption of beer as being important to education, nor shall advertising directly or indirectly degrade studying. Beer may be advertised and marketed on college campuses or at college-sponsored events only when permitted by appropriate college policy.
Code Compliance and Dissemination
Each member of the Beer Institute is committed to the philosophy of the Code and is committed to compliance with the Code. When the Beer Institute receives complaints with regard to any member's advertising or marketing, it has long been its practice and it will continue to be its practice to promptly refer such complaints in writing to the member company for its review and action. To facilitate this end, the Beer Institute maintains an 800 number (1-800-379-2739). A copy of this code shall continue to be given to every brewery employee, wholesale distributor and outside agency whose responsibilities include advertising and marketing beer, as well as to any outside party who might request it.