On Thursday, NBC changed its policy to accept distilled spirits ads after
9 p.m., making the peacock web the first major broadcast network to lift its
blanket ban on liquor advertising.
Guinness UDV, makers of Smirnoff vodka and other distilled spirits, will be
the first advertiser under the new policy.
A spot is expected to debut on NBC's popular 'Saturday Night Live.'
As part of the policy change, distilled spirits advertisers must first commit
to at least a four-month on-air social responsibility campaign (promoting
responsible drinking, designated drivers, etc.).
After that, 20% of the time bought for any product campaign has to be devoted
to social responsibility themes.
The company will kick off a multimillion-dollar responsibility campaign on the
network during the week of December 17.
Other rules that NBC has set in place: 85% of the audience exposed to liquor
ads must be at least 21-years old; and the actors in the ads must be at least 30
An NBC executive said he hopes that others following NBC down this path also
embrace what it believes are fairly restrictive guidelines for any liquor
There didn't seem to be a big hue and cry over the NBC decision.
Some TV executives have fretted that the networks might jeopardize efforts to
gain further deregulation if network alcohol ads irked members of Congress.
NBC sources said they briefed key Capitol Hill-types before going ahead.
One competitor said NBC 'seemed to take a measured and responsible
ABC, CBS and Fox said their blanket bans remain in effect, although a CBS
spokesman added, 'we are constantly reviewing these policies.'
Even Mothers Against Drunk Driving credited NBC with having a reasonable
'It is our understanding after speaking with NBC network officials that the
ads will comply with MADD's alcohol advertising position and will air late at
night during programs that target 85% adult audiences. MADD hopes these will be
permanent standards and that they will be applied to all segments of the
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