Booze Ads on Instagram

Feb 05, 2020

Another bonus minisode of the third season of the “The Creative Influencer” podcast is available today for download on iTunes, Spotify, and premier platforms everywhere.  In minisodes, we answer questions that our listeners have emailed Jon.  In this minisode, Jon revisits the topic of alcohol on Instagram, with developments since last season. This time, it’s about underage audiences seeing ads for alcohol.

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A transcript of the episode follows:

Hey Jon,
I’m 16 and I love Instagram. My dad’s ancient – I think he’s in his 40s – and he loves the Wall Street Journal. Dad told me that the Wall Street Journal had an article about booze and social media. He asked me if I’d seen any advertising for alcohol in my Instagram feed. I have, but what’s the big deal?
Thx,
Mindy

Hi Mindy,

Alcohol marketing on social media has become a hot issue. As it relates to Instagram, there are two things to look at. First, the actual company accounts and then there is influencer advertising.

Last month Miller Lite had an influencer campaign on Instagram. Miller created a so-called “Miller Lite offline can.” It was a dark can that said on the back “A few friends are better than a few thousand followers. Here’s to the original social media. Here’s to the original lite beer. It’s Miller time.” Pretty clever.

Many alcohol companies, including Miller Lite, have restricted profiles where you must be 21 years old or older to see the profile. Currently it’s not a government requirement so not all companies do that. In my opinion, it will only be a matter of time before Instagram changes it’s terms of use to require distilleries and breweries to have age restricted profiles.

The real hand wringing about alcohol advertising relates to influencers. An influencer can age restrict his or her profile, but few do. What this means is that you, Mindy, a 16-year-old can see ads for products you can’t buy until you are 21 years old. Some groups believe that that will predispose you to drink. In fact, the World Health Organization is calling for a ban of all on-line alcohol advertising, similar to tobacco.

Although its currently not available, much of the problem will go away when Instagram allows individual posts to be age restricted.

So Mindy, thank you for your e-mail and say “hi” to your dad.


The Creative Influencer is a bi-weekly podcast where we discuss all things creative with an emphasis on Influencers. It is hosted by Jon Pfeiffer, an entertainment attorney in Santa Monica, California.  Jon interviews influencers, creatives and the professionals who work with them.

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