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CAMY Calls For 15% Alcohol Solution

The Washington-based Center for Alcohol Marketing & Youth (CAMY) says alcohol distributors should reduce by half the number of young people ages 12-20 they reach with their advertising, arguing they can advertise more effectively and efficiently by doing so.

Currently, the voluntary standard is an audience that is no more than 30% youth 12-20.

In a new white paper, CAMY says that limit should be 15%, arguing that the current limit is frequently exceeded and ineffective in sufficiently limiting exposure to youth. Advertisers could more cheaply reach their target 21-34 demo while complying with the new, tougher limit, the group says.

Between January and October 2004, numerous brands--including so-called "alcopops" like Smirnoff Ice Triple Black and Absolut Raspberry Flavored Vodka--"were seen by proportionately more youth than adults over 21" on national TV (combining broadcast network, cable and spot ads), CAMY says.

If the new 15% standard were adopted, shows that no longer could advertise alcohol include South Park, Mad TV, That '70s Show, and Chappelle's Show.

Dan Jaffe, executive VP for the Association of National Advertisers, points out that the industry already substantially tightened its restrictions by moving it to 30% from 50% and has been praised by the Federal Trade Commission for doing so.

Even at that 30% level, Jaffe notes, compliance can be problematic because it is based on predictions of audience that can shift. CAMY, he says, doesn't want alcohol advertising at all, "so they keep racheting up the restrictions and whatever the industry does, they will not be satisfied."

The Center, which monitors alcohol advertising as it relates to public health, is based at Gerogetown University, funded by grants from the Pew Charitable Trust and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.