208855 Failure of Self-Regulation of Alcohol Advertising: A Review of Four Years of Reports from the Distilled Spirits Industry

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 5:10 PM

Michele Simon, JD, MPH , Research and Policy, Marin Institute, San Rafael, CA
The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), a trade association for the distilled spirits industry, has for decades touted its voluntary “Code of Responsible Practices” for the advertising and marketing of its members. But no systematic review of the industry's oversight system had previously been undertaken. Marin Institute conducted such a review, analyzing four years worth of advertising complaints, as described in the industry's own reports released from 2004-2007. This presentation will explain the results, which statistically demonstrate an inherent bias in having industry members police itself. Complaints regarding ads from companies with a member on the DISCUS board were three times less likely to be found in violation of the Code. Recommendations, which include federal government oversight with truly independent, third-party review will also be discussed.

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the system of self-regulation of advertising by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS) 2. Explain the methods and results from our statistical survey of four years of advertising complaints as reported by DISCUS 3. Explain why self-regulation by the alcohol industry is an unreliable method of oversight due to conflicts of interest, under-reporting, and unaccountability.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: 13 years as a public health lawyer, expert in self-regulation and advertising.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.