Sunday, November 06, 2005

Alcohol Advertising Loopholes

Think back a few years, to the days before malted "alcopop" drinks like Bacardi Breezer.

Now, while in hindsight, it was a great idea to launch such a product - they sell very well amongst the young and female drinking audiences. However, the point of these products wasn't to reach a untapped market segment.. it was to get around TV advertising rules.

Simply put: In the US, you cannot advertise hard liquor on TV. However, you can advertise a beer-like malted sweet beverage that happens to share its brand name with a major Liquor. And thus, Bacardi Breezer, and all of the other copycat products were born. Intially, they were loss-leaders, solely there to allow their parent companies to advertise their brands on TV.

Now - fast forward to India.

Here, it is illegal to advertise liquors on TV & it is also illegal to advertise beers (or so I would guess by the lack of commercials for both).

However, at least 5-6 times per night, I'm forced to watch commercials touting the latest music CDs produced under the Bacardi Breezer brandname. Now, it might be that this is a killer mix-CD... but given that they don't even mention any of the music on it - and combined with the fact that I haven't seen another commercial for any non-alcohol related music CD - I am inclined to guess that this is yet another attempt by the alcohol companies to get around TV advertising regulations.

They get to show a few cute people dancing in a night club, kissing, holding drinks, and have their brand logos everywhere on the screen, and then briefly, at the end, they mention the CD they are selling. Smart.

This is all speculation of course... but, I'm probably right.

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