ACTION ALERT
SEAGRAM LIQUOR ADS SPREAD ON TV AND RADIO

Ads for Seagram's Chivas Regal scotch, Crown Royal Canadian whiskey, and Lime Twisted gin now appear on as many as 25 television and 50 radio stations throughout the United States. The largest markets include Boston, Houston, San Francisco, the New York metro area, and Milwaukee. Those campaigns first aired in defiance of the long-term voluntary ban on broadcast liquor ads and will result in the potential exposure of millions of children and teens to additional, powerful inducements to drink. This alert provides background facts and outlines a few actions that community members can use to combat the ads locally and focus media attention on the issue.

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP BROADCAST LIQUOR ADS

  • Organize a delegation of civic and community leaders to visit with managers of local television and radio stations. Depending on the situation,   praise the station for refusing to run the ads, and/or encourage the station not to accept ads if they're offered;
  • demand that the station stop running ads for distilled products, and/or (1) ask for "equal time" on a public service news talk show to discuss the issue; (2) ask to present a guest editorial to express community concern about the expansion of liquor advertising; or (3) ask that the station follow each liquor (and beer?) ad with a message discouraging underage drinking;
  • write letters to the editor of the local newspaper;
  • arrange a meeting with your local newspaper's editorial board and ask for an editorial opposing hard liquor ads on the air.
  • Write Reed Hundt, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, 1919 M Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20554. Thank him for questioning the propriety of Seagram's ads and encourage the FCC to investigate. Or call the FCC toll-free at 1-888-CALL-FCC.
  • Find out when the broadcast licenses of local radio and television stations expire. Advise any station that runs liquor ads that your community coalition will recommend against license renewal because the station fails to meet its public interest responsibilities by airing liquor ads that encourage young people to drink;
  • Write your U.S. Representative (Washington, D.C. 20515) and two Senators (D.C. 20510), asking them to support legislation to ban liquor advertising on television and radio; ask them to hold broadcasters accountable for allowing the expansion of alcohol advertising in those youth-oriented media;
  • Picket broadcast stations that run liquor ads, involving young people in demonstrations outside those stations; place ads in local newspapers, either praising broadcasters who observe the voluntary ban on liquor ads or challenging those who run the ads.
  • Find concerned state legislators to introduce a bill that would prohibit the placement of liquor ads on broadcast stations within the state;
  • And don't forget to identify local newspaper and television reporters who will cover the story, and keep them informed of your activities.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, CONTACT CSPI AT (202) 332-9110, EXT. 385 or via e-mail at alcproject@cspinet.org.

November 1996