Distilled Spirits Council Reacts to Alcohol Portrayal in Movies and Effects Study (UPDATE)


A recent study by the Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands, on portrayal of alcohol in movies associated with drinking behavior in young people has not been well received by the beverage industries and Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

The Trade association said that the study was not conclusive.

University Herald has received a statement from Lisa Hawkins, Vice-President of the Distilled Spirits Council which reads:

"It is incredibly irresponsible for the study authors to make misleading and sensational statements in a press release that are not supported by their own study. The study of 84 males and 75 females measured their "feelings" after reviewing 8 movie clips. 

The spirits industry does not condone the glamorization of alcohol abuse and opposes any irresponsible use of our products, brand names and product images.  Nowhere in the study does it say that these alcohol portrayals are product placements.  In fact, the overwhelming instances of portrayals of alcohol in movies are unsolicited by advertising companies.

The FTC recently issued a major report on beverage alcohol advertising, including a comprehensive review of product placements in entertainment media, and recognized the Distilled Spirits Council for its robust and effective self-regulatory system.  As the FTC Report noted, product placements in all entertainment media, including movies, accounted for about one-tenth of one percent of total advertising expenditures.

Spirit companies abide by a rigorous advertising and marketing Code of Responsible Practices, which includes numerous guidelines for branded product placements in entertainment media. 

Additional background on the Code's provisions regarding product placements:

Under the Code's provisions, branded product placements must be made on a case-by-case assessment based upon information about the movie. The product placement provisions in the Code prohibit spirits companies from approving placements that depict: characters engaged in illegal or irresponsible consumption of their products in connection with driving; the purchase/ consumption of their products by those below the legal purchase age; and characters who use their products irresponsibly or abusively or where alcoholism is portrayed, unless the depiction supports a responsible consumption message."

Any further reactions to the study can be directly discussed with the authors.

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