The folks at the Beer Institute, themselves now essentially advertisers of beer, have created the Code Compliance Review Board (CCRB) to review complaints by consumers about beer ads, whether the ad itself or the appropriateness of its placement, that have not been satisfactorily resolved by the offending brewery.
From the press release:
Jeff Becker, president of the Beer Institute, announced today the implementation of an independent review board to assess complaints filed with the Beer Institute about the content or placement of beer advertisements. The board will address situations where the proponent of a complaint is not satisfied with the response received directly from the brewer that sponsored an ad. The decisions of the board will be based on the Beer Institute’s Advertising and Marketing Code.
The press release blathers on about self-regulation which, in my opinion, has never, ever worked. No business in the history of mankind has ever intentionally disciplined itself or found itself guilty of any wrongdoing beyond that which required a slap on the wrist. To me, the real question here is what kind of complaints cannot be resolved by the brewery? Who’s being stubborn? I’m not being rhetorical, I really want to know. Are the unresolvable complaints coming from neo-prohibitionists who won’t be satisfied until alcohol is illegal again? (Their motto: if if it didn”t work before, try it again.) Or are the breweries the unreasonable party here, putting up billboards across the street from schools or creating mascots like Joe Camel that appeal primarily to children? I’m sure both of these strategies have been employed, and not just by breweries but by companies selling tobacco, liquor, etc.
So I’m not quite sure what the angle here is, though I’m sure one will emerge. The press release is vaguely silent about what the CCRB will actually do to resolve compaints or what authority it has, especially if the complaint is regarding a non-member brewery. Are they just trying to assuage hardcore complainers with an axe to grind or do they really want to change how beer is advertised and reduce the number of complaints before they occur. Is that even possible? Or desirable? I honestly don’t know. It will certainly be interesting to see what develops.