Russian Beer Advertising Just Got Tougher

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Talk about making it hard to advertise your product. I guess that is communism.


Putin Signs Law on Restricting Beer Ads

Associated Press

MOSCOW - President Vladimir Putin signed into law a series of tough new restrictions on beer ads, a measure that lawmakers said should help reduce youth drinking and hooliganism.

The new law prohibits brewers from advertising their products on television or radio from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. At other times, the ads won't be allowed to show humans or animals or imply that beer is connected to social, athletic or personal success. Advertisers also can't imply that beer quenches thirst.

Putin signed the measure late last week, but the move was not publicized until Tuesday.

The law reflects growing concern about alcoholism and youth drinking in Russia - a country whose love of vodka is legendary.

During the Soviet Union, beer drinkers had to contend with long lines, empty shelves, little selection and poor quality. But over the last decade, beer has grown in popularity; dozens of brands are sold around the clock at kiosks on almost every street corner and teenagers often roam the streets with a beer in hand.

Vodka, which is cheaper and packs a stronger alcoholic punch, still outsells it, but beer sales are growing at double digit rates, according to the Russian Brewers Union.

Lawmakers accused brewers of trying to woo younger drinkers with their sexy advertisements and hip slogans. Vodka and other hard liquors, in contrast, are prohibited from advertising on television, but in print they are allowed to use images of people as long as they are over age 35.

Russia's Brewers Union has warned that the new prohibitions will undermine beer companies' sponsorship of sports events on television. Beer companies are some of the main sponsors - not only of the events, but in some cases of teams themselves. Russian sporting groups have also complained about the restrictions.

Russian lawmakers said earlier this month that they might propose some amendments to the law this fall to ensure that brewers' financial support to sports is not reduced. Perhaps in a nod to expected changes, most of the bill goes into affect 10 days after its publication, but the prohibition on advertising beer in sporting and cultural organizations doesn't take effect until January 1.

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