Friday, September 18, 2015

TTB Announces Social Media Rules for Advertising

     It seems that the TTB (Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau) have come to the realization that there has been a shift in advertising of distilled spirits.  The power and numbers of the social media has grown to the point that if you aren’t doing something there you are missing out on much of your sales potential.

  According to the TTB, a social network service is a service, platform, or site where users communicate with one another and share media, such as pictures, videos, music, and blogs, with other users.  Many industry members have created pages on social network services for their company and/or a particular brand.  These are sometimes referred to as “fan pages” or “pages,” and users of the social network service can become “fans” of the company or brand, creating a link between their own page and the fan page.  The purpose of fan pages is to increase brand awareness and loyalty by allowing industry members to communicate with consumers in an interactive manner.  TTB considers fan pages for alcohol beverage products or companies and any content regarding alcohol beverage products posted to the pages by the industry member to fall under the category of “any other media” in TTB’s regulatory definition of advertisement, and therefore the fan pages are subject to the provisions of the FAA Act and TTB regulations.
     The TTB considers industry member fan pages for alcohol beverages to be advertisements, all mandatory statements required by the must be included on them.  TTB views the entire fan page as one advertisement, so mandatory statements need only appear once on the fan page, either on the “home” page or on any sub or tabbed pages directly associated with the “home” page.  The regulations require that mandatory statements on alcohol beverage advertisements be: conspicuous and readily legible; clearly a part of the advertisement; and  readily apparent to the persons viewing the advertisement.  Thus, mandatory statements may not be hidden or buried in an obscure location on the fan page. 

Prohibited Practices

 What aadvertisement of distilled spirits shall not contain:
(1) Any statement that is false or untrue in any material particular, or that, irrespective of falsity, directly, or by ambiguity, omission, or inference, or by the addition of irrelevant, scientific or technical matter tends to create a misleading impression.
(2) Any statement that is disparaging of a competitor's product.
(3) Any statement, design, device, or representation which is obscene or indecent.
(4) Any statement, design, device, or representation of or relating to analyses, standards or tests, irrespective of falsity, which the appropriate TTB officer finds to be likely to mislead the consumer.
(5) Any statement, design, device, or representation of or relating to any guarantee, irrespective of falsity, which the appropriate TTB officer finds to be likely to mislead the consumer. Money-back guarantees are not prohibited.
(6) Any statement that the distilled spirits are distilled, blended, made, bottled, or sold under or in accordance with any municipal, State, Federal, or foreign authorization, law, or regulation, unless such statement appears in the manner authorized by labels of distilled spirits. If a municipal, State or Federal permit number is stated, such permit number shall not be accompanied by any additional statement relating thereto.
(7) The words “bond”, “bonded”, “bottled in bond”, “aged in bond”, or phrases containing these or synonymous terms, unless such words or phrases appear, on labels of the distilled spirits advertised, and are stated in the advertisement in the manner and form in which they are permitted to appear on the label.