Guidelines for Beverage Alcohol Marketing
in the Campus Community

The InterAssociation Task Force on Campus Alcohol Issues

In 1984, the Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues with the help of leaders in the higher education, business and the prevention communities, developed a series of recommendations to allow college officials to better control corporate based beverage alcohol marketing in their campus communities. These guidelines were designed to assure that where allowed, beverage alcohol marketing was consistent with the values of higher education, the individual institutions and promoted the product in a responsible manner.

These marketing guidelines were endorsed by the higher education community through the associations comprising the Inter-Association Task Force and were also voluntarily agreed to by all of the major brewers as an industry standard for national product advertising. For higher education, this has given us a vehicle to address marketing violations directly to the producer of the product being advertised and in each case where violations have been reported, the Inter-Association Task Force has had success getting product advertisements withdrawn at the beverage alcohol companies expense.

The process for a college or university administrator to address complaints regarding a specific national product advertisement which violates the marketing guidelines is to contact the Inter-Association Task Force and provide copies of the advertisement, which publication it ran in and the date which it appeared. Task Force representatives will review the complaint and if it is considered a violation, the Task Force will bring it to the attention of the corporation responsible for the advertisement and report back to the campus representative the results.

During the 1997 National Symposium on Alcohol Issues sponsored by the Inter-Association Task Force, these marketing guidelines were reviewed and adopted once again as an adequate standard for campuses that allow beverage alcohol marketing. One thing we learned, however, is that unlike 1985 when a significant portion of beverage alcohol advertisements were national in nature, today campuses are more concerned with the content of local advertisements from restaurants, bars, and liquor stores targeting students and running in campus publications.

Although the Inter-Association Task Force is not equipped to handle complaints local in nature, we have discussed this problem and offer the following recommendations for college and university officials and students who feel violations of these standards occur in their campus community.

  1. The campus should consider establishing an alcohol marketing review committee. It is suggested that this be a function of an existing campus task force on substance abuse issues and not necessarily be a "new" committee. The review committee should consist of at least one senior campus administrator (Dean or higher), an alcohol or other drug prevention professional, a member of the local business community and at least one student.
  2. A letter from the marketing review committee should be sent to all local businesses with a sample of the marketing guidelines and a request for voluntary compliance. This should also be shared with the student publications, athletic departments and any student organization that solicits or receives advertising from the community. If your campus has a student publication/media board this should be reviewed and made a standard for all campus publications.
  3. Any suspect advertisements should be reviewed along the beverage alcohol marketing guidelines and if found in violation, a representative of the committee should contact the owner of the sponsoring business regarding the suspected advertisement with the goal of the advertisement being voluntarily withdrawn or changed.
  4. In the event that a businesses fails to voluntarily comply, letters to licensing agencies, police departments, city councils and political offices should be sent asking that renewal of liquor licenses be opposed and that enforcement officers step up surveillance of these establishments.
  5. If the suspect advertisements names a specific product or contains a specific product message, the Inter-Association Task Force will assist in working with the product manufacturer to get pressure placed on the local business as well. Please mail these concerns with a copy of the advertisement in question to:
    The Inter-Association Task Force on Alcohol and Other Substance Abuse Issues
    P.O. Box 100430
    Denver, Colorado 80250-0430

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