Author: Thomas F. Babor, Ziming Xuan, Donna Damon, and Jonathan Noel
Title: An Empirical Evaluation of the US Beer Institute’s Self-Regulation Code Governing the Content of Beer Advertising
Journal: American Journal of Public Health: October 2013, Vol. 103, No. 10, pp. e45-e51.

Objectives: We evaluated advertising code violations using the US Beer Institute guidelines for responsible advertising.
Methods: We applied the Delphi rating technique to all beer ads (n = 289) broadcast in national markets between 1999 and 2008 during the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball tournament games. Fifteen public health professionals completed ratings using quantitative scales measuring the content of alcohol advertisements (e.g., perceived actor age, portrayal of excessive drinking) according to 1997 and 2006 versions of the Beer Institute Code.
Results: Depending on the code version, exclusion criteria, and scoring method, expert raters found that between 35% and 74% of the ads had code violations. There were significant differences among producers in the frequency with which ads with violations were broadcast, but not in the proportions of unique ads with violations. Guidelines most likely to be violated included the association of beer drinking with social success and the use of content appealing to persons younger than 21 years.
Conclusions: The alcohol industry’s current self-regulatory framework is ineffective at preventing content violations but could be improved by the use of new rating procedures designed to better detect content code violations.

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