WHAT'S NEW -- CSPI PRESS RELEASES
For Immediate Release: August 2, 1996
Contact: Richard Hébert 202/332-9110, ext. 370
New York Times Ad Urges Seagram
To Stop TV Liquor Commercials
In a full-page advertisement in the August 2, Northeast edition of the New York
Times, 58 health-advocacy and consumer organizations and individuals are
urging the Seagram Company to stop running television commercials for its
The open letter to Seagram's chief executive officer, Edgar Bronfman, Jr.,
states: "Instead of adding to the avalanche of beer advertising that now helps
bury a tragic number of children, we ask you, in the name of true fairness, to
exert responsible corporate leadership and immediately pull your TV spots off
Faced with declining sales, Seagram broke the liquor industry's 48-year
voluntary ban against hard-liquor advertising on TV in early June when it
began airing commercials for Crown Royal Canadian Whiskey on KRIS-TV,
the NBC affiliate in Corpus Christi, Texas. The company indicated that if
successful, it intended to continue expanding its use of TV and cable
advertising in other markets. Other liquor companies have said they may do
"You say it's only fair to advertise your whiskey and vodka on TV because
beer and wine companies advertise their products," the newspaper ad points
out. "But what's best for our kids?"
The open letter was signed by numerous health, anti-drug, and religious
groups. Assembled by the nonprofit Center for Science in the Public Interest
(CSPI), the signers include the American Public Health Association, American
Academy of Pediatrics, Students Against Drunk Driving, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Consumer Federation of America, Texans' War
on Drugs, and Texas PTA.
Individuals who signed the letter include Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV), Rep.
Joseph P. Kennedy II (D-MA), and 10 other members of Congress.
"We hope that Mr. Bronfman will listen to health authorities, legislators, anti-drug activists, concerned citizens, and the President of the United States and
reverse his decision to break five decades of trust with the American people,"
commented George Hacker, CSPI's director of alcohol policies. "Our kids
don't need the temptation of televised liquor ads on top of so many beer ads
that already zero in on them."
Hacker noted that President Clinton, in his weekly radio address June 15,
called on liquor companies to reinstate their voluntary ban, urging them, "Pull
The New York Times advertisement, headlined "Don't let our kids drown in
Seagram's TV ads," notes that alcohol is a factor in all leading causes of death
for persons aged 15 to 24 and also leads to more teen pregnancies, sexually
transmitted diseases, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and AIDS. It was supported in
part by contributions from the Christopher D. Smithers Foundation, the S. H.
Cowell Foundation, the Marin Institute for the Prevention of Alcohol and
Other Drug Problems, and the National Association for Public Health Policy.
CSPI is a non-profit health-education and advocacy organization widely recognized for its
studies of nutrition, food safety, and alcohol. Based in Washington, D.C., it is supported in
large part by the 750,000 subscribers to its Nutrition Action Healthletter. It does not accept
funding from industry or government.
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