Distilled Spirits Council crafts social media guides

WASHINGTON: The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has created guidelines for responsible alcohol marketing through social media.

WASHINGTON: The Distilled Spirits Council of the United States has created guidelines for responsible alcohol marketing through social media.

The organization, working with the European Forum for Responsible Drinking, developed the set of guidelines to address changes in technology, said Frank Coleman, SVP for public affairs at the Distilled Spirits Council.

“It's a rigorous code that has been commended by our regulators and even our critics,” he said.

The recommendations include monitoring brand pages and mobile apps, adding age gates and privacy policies, and identifying brand marketing on digital channels. While the organization previously had marketing guidelines in place, only some covered the use of digital media. The new guides are the group's first for social media channels.

Although not identical, the regulations are similar to those of the European Forum because the two groups represent many of the same companies, said Coleman.

The Distilled Spirits Council, with a three-person PR team in New York and Washington, is reaching out to both members and non-members to explain the guidelines. The association will also host a “Best Practices Media Summit” in Washington on October 18 and 19 to bring together distilled spirits companies and businesses from other sectors of the industry to discuss the regulations.

“It's basically designed to exchange experiences and share ideas about placement methods and advertising content that enhances industry-wide best-practice compliance with the Distilled Spirits Council code,” Coleman said.

In addition to beer, wine, and spirits companies attending the event, representatives from Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and advertising and marketing agencies, will be involved with the summit.

The use of blogs is also a major part of the guidelines, Coleman said. Companies that have blogs need to adhere to their demographic standards and guidelines and must monitor content and links posted on their sites.

“The most important point from a blog standpoint is you can't have something out there seeming to be an independent third party when it's marketing,” he said. “That's just transparency and social responsibility.”

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