Absolut Mistake

Statement of CSPI Alcohol Policies Project Director George Hacker on Absolut Vodka’s Ads on CBS

February 9, 2009

What's next? Chivas Regal ads on Hannah Montana?

Sunday night, in a craven act of bad judgment and greed, alcoholic beverage conglomerate Pernod Ricard and CBS settled on a Grammys award broadcast featuring 16-year-old Miley Cyrus, 19-year-old Taylor Swift, the Jonas Brothers, and other young performers to air the first prime time ad for Absolut vodka.

Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift perform Swift's song, "Fifteen," at the 2009 Grammy Awards on February 8.

We note with dismay the remarks of an Absolut spokesman that there will be "many more" such ads and the company "will continue to push the media landscape." Given the inauspicious debut of this campaign, we suspect the liquor industry wants to push this "landscape" to reach ever younger audiences on our public airwaves.

I hope this alarming lack of restraint demonstrated by Pernod Ricard—and also by CBS—invites new scrutiny of hard liquor advertising on the part of the Federal Trade Commission and Congress. Considering the magnitude of alcohol problems among young people, we need less advertising of all alcoholic beverages, not more.


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