Alcohol Ads Closely Monitored by Marketing Review Board

An independent , six-member marketing review board established by the alcohol beverage producer Allied Domecq has vetoed a number of sexually suggestive and other ads for the company’s marketing for brands such as Kahlua, Malibu, Sauza and Stolichnaya.

Marketing Review Board member Lisa Graham, a former member of the Arizona House of Representatives, said that “if we say no to a particular campaign, it doesn’t run.” For example, the Board has rejected an ad featuring a man and woman dancing suggestively on a table. The Board tends to reject ads that it considers might be seen as too sexual or portray drinkers acting inappropriately.

A second layer of marketing oversight is found in the review board of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States (DISCUS), which responds to complaints regarding ads for distilled spirits. It’s decisions are made public as are those now of Allied Domecq’s Review Board.

The other five members of the Allied Domecq Marketing Review Board are Jodie Bernstein, former Federal Trade Commission (FTC) consumer-protection chief, Jose Massaguer, Spanish law professor, Keith Evans of the South Australian Department of Health, Hugh Burkitt, director of the Marketing Society, and Guillermo Cabanellas, lawyer.

Upon receiving news that Allied Domecq’s Review Board decisions would now be publicized, the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) used the occasion to complain that alcohol beverage companies aren’t doing enough to reduce the audience for their ads even more than they have. In its own words, CAMY seeks to “create public outrage” against alcohol beverage commercials. Its view is that fewer alcohol ads are always still too many ads.


  • Warner, Melanie. A liquor maker keeps a close watch on its ads. New York Times, June 27, 2005; Allied Domecq issues first-ever Marketing Review Board Report. Allied Domecq press release, June 27, 2005.