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Hard Liquor Ads Hit the Small Screen

Booze advertising on TV has been dominated by beer for decades, but that's about to change.

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Frankel's "Skinnygirl" Margarita ads will soon
be appearing on TV. Photo via

By Valerie Tejeda

05/25/12

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After abstaining for decades, many well known hard liquor labels are now returning to TV advertising. Until recently, booze advertising on TV was mainly dominated by beer, but TV viewers are gradually coming around to accepting liquor as well, despite the potential impact of these ads on children. Jagermeister, Captain Morgan, Ketel One and 1800 Tequila are some of the familiar brands who will soon be making their way to the small screen. "There has been no push-back," said Frank Coleman of the Distilled Spirits Council of the US. "So it's seen as an opportunity. If you're going to take beer ads, you're going to take spirit ads...A standard serving of beer, wine and spirits all contain the same amount of alcohol."  Beam Inc.—one of the world’s largest spirits companies—increased it’s spending on small screen ads from 34 to 43 percent in one year alone, and also nailed down TV spots for Jim Beam, Devil's Cut, Red Stag, Maker's Mark, Pucker Vodka, and Hornitos Tequila. Former The Real Housewives of New York City star Bethany Frankel recently launched a huge TV ad campaign (titled "Drink Like a Lady") for her calorie conscious alcoholic beverage brand Skinnygirl, airing on networks such as Bravo, the Food Network, and HGTV. Gregg G. Raduka, director of prevention/intervention for the Council on Alcohol and Drugs, believes this surge in booze marketing could cause trouble for children and young adults. "In my mind we're so bombarded by alcohol advertising by various media avenues that anything that could reduce that bombardment would be positive," he said. While no federal laws have restricted liquor from television, it’s no secret that the ads do have an effect on children: back in March, a UK study found that more kids recognized Smirnoff vodka and Carlsberg beer than recognized Ben and Jerry’s ice cream. 

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