Ethanol short for ethical alcohol?

11 10 2006

In all the Foley finger-pointing, one might pause to wonder — did you ever think the Liquor Lobby and sexy glam magazine publishers would look more ethical to parents than the Congress we expect to regulate them? How far we’ve fallen in doing right by our kids, or even being capable of articulating what’s so wrong . . .

Frank Coleman, senior vice president for public affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, said the organization’s code of responsible practices dictated that the models used in advertisements should be over 21. Any policy regarding the age of cover models in magazines, he said, is voluntary “to ensure the highest standards of responsibility.”

Some magazines avoid the question simply by never using an underage model. A spokesman for Maxim said the magazine was strict in never putting someone under the age of 21 on the cover. Ms. Fields said that FHM’s clients thanked her for being upfront about the cover.“This is an important time of year for distilled spirits,” she said. “It’s Christmas, people are shopping.”

liquor lookalike ad

By the way, this ad art is actually an youth-exploitative example of “liquor-branded alco-pops” or “malt-ternatives” but the member folks where I found it make a better example of service-oriented public information (as opposed to self-serving lies) than most Congressional speech imo.

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UPDATE April 2, 2007
See comment below on the new SPYKES controversy:

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3 responses

2 04 2007
misedjj

Have you heard about “Spykes” yet? IN RELATED NEWS from ABC News Medical Unit:
“Alcoholic Energy Drinks a Threat to Kids?”

“The bottles are easy to hide, and they don’t look like alcoholic beverages,” he says. “It is just perfect for the teenage market.”

It’s not just a story about kids and alcohol though. I think the angle about kids and the Internet might be bigger news to Thinking Parents. In the media coverage, the Web itself is being sucked into the debate, as unhealthy for kids all because it’s uncontrolled and unregulated .

For underage Web users who tell the truth about their age, entering their date of birth and clicking the link takes them to a page promoting Anheuser-Busch’s theme parks.

However, for those who are of legal age – or at least say they are – the link leads to a vivid home page, complete with club music and descriptions of the Spykes’ range of products.

This virtual creation perhaps represents the bulk of direct-to-consumer advertising that the company has put together in the marketing of Spykes. And this alone, critics say, is part of the problem.

“This is even more evidence of what their marketing push is,” Mosher says. “We know that teens are heavy users of the Internet, and companies that want to market to teens use the Internet and other forms of viral marketing.

So what’s the solution –already being proposed! — for the good of the kids of course? What you might expect: public advocacy mouths will define what’s “responsible” and then force it on the rest of society, first by defining the terms of the debate (on an issue about which they lack sufficient standing to do so, imo) and if that won’t work, then new legislation.

And what will that definition be, says the self-righteous mouth in this story? If it’s “particularly attractive to young people” then it is irresponsible to make and market at all. Well, there goes cable, along with skateboards, video games and MySpace, probably the whole music industry and chick lit. 😉

But even in the absence of concrete data, Mosher calls the Anheuser-Busch move to put these drinks on the market “highly irresponsible.”

“The first level of responsibility rests with the companies themselves,” he says. “Their responsibility is to keep stuff off of the market that is particularly attractive to young people.

“If the companies refuse to act responsibly, then we need legislation.”

2 04 2007
misedjj

Not that I like the corporate mouth’s idea for MY kids any better than the lawyer’s, who apparently works fulltime marketing some kind of legislative need or other. Probably takes a lot of potentially problematic liberties to keep him busy!

Is it so much to ask that we all stop thinking of young people as objects or worse, TARGETS of our actions and advocacy? Teens are not objects to be checked, trained, taught, force-fed, restricted, evaluated, regulated, controlled and contained, punished, etc . . .

John Kaestner, vice president of consumer affairs for Anheuser-Busch Companies Inc. in St. Louis, Mo., calls the reaction to Spykes “misguided and unfounded.”

He also writes in the statement that Spykes are clearly labeled as containing alcohol.

“The way to prevent underage drinking is not by limiting product choices for adults,” the statement reads. “Rather, the solution is to prevent youth access to alcohol by training retailers to properly check IDs, supporting law enforcement officials in enforcing underage-drinking laws, and encouraging parents to set rules and consequences for their sons and daughters.”

. . .what a policy revolution it will be, when enough Thinking Parents say “no thanks” to all the “help” and “concern” aimed at teens and their parents. Teens are poised for citizenship, actively learning to self-govern and make important decisions (and mistakes) for themselves, in every aspect of life. Really helping them with that is my concern and I do it fulltime, without following the parenting dictates of legislation, law enforcement or even libertarians (who imo have been known to exploit my kids in their policy arguments too.)

It makes me want to do a new PSA for tv, something like:
Here is your public policy on do-gooderism.
Here is your public policy on drugs.
See the difference?
Neither do I.

2 04 2007
misedjj

The Parent-Directed Education discussion list yielded this from Paul, a multilingual, multicultural dad who as usual takes his data seriously but not himself:
” Eh, we take all this stuff too seriously. Consumption of grain spirits
per person in the USA
probably peaked at around 7.1 gallons around 1830
– frankly, I’m surprised they even managed to find the Pacific Ocean …

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