VH1 Plans to Serve Up Liquor Ads

Dec 8, 2003  •  Post A Comment

Drinking from a source most national networks avoid, VH1 is selling ads to hard-liquor distributors.
Ad buying sources said VH1 is offering spots to hard-liquor clients on what’s being called a test basis, despite a voluntary industry policy against taking spirits ads that has been in effect since 1946.
A VH1 spokesman was unable to retrieve information from network executives. Network sales executives did not return calls.
Few cable networks accept hard-liquor ads. Among those that do is BET, which, like VH1, is owned by Viacom. A spokesman for BET said the network is currently taking hard-liquor ads, but it runs the spots only after 11 p.m.
Last year NBC and Diageo, which sells Smirnoff vodka and Jose Cuervo tequila, announced a plan to run spirits ads on TV. The plan drew fire from public-interest groups and government officials and quickly unraveled.
Liquor ads do run on TV, but by and large they appear on local TV stations. According to Advertising Age, about 487 TV stations accept spirits ads in 142 markets, and Diageo alone spends about $200 million on TV ads.