Russian officials crack down on Beer advertising

Deputies punished brewers and advertising agents for creativity
Brewing is Russia’s only industry where domestic production has achieved a really grand scale, and Duma deputies decided to pay particular attention to it. Today, a plenary session of the Russian State Duma approved amendments to the law “About advertising” concerning beer advertising.

According to RIA Novosti, the main discussion was focused on the amendment providing for a complete ban on beer advertising between 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. As a result, the amendment was supported by 233 votes (226 votes were necessary for adoption of the law); 24 deputies turned it down, and none abstained.

According to the law, “beer advertising shouldn’t produce an impression that drinking beer is of great importance for success in private and sports life or for improving one's mental or physical state. At the same time, people who don't drink beer shouldn’t be discredited in such advertising.” One may ask how this or that product can be made attractive for customers. Developments of so-called “prestigious consumption” are described in all books on PR and advertising. It is quite natural that people always want to have everything that is currently considered fashionable and prestigious and ignore other factors. However, deputies and other governmental officials who strictly criticize the advertising of Russian beer pay little attention to such details. The law also says: “Advertising of beer can’t declare that beer is harmless and even wholesome for the human body.” Is this prohibition correct when medical research substantiate such statements? “Beer advertising can’t be aimed at youth. Public figures, famous actors, and athletes can’t be involved in advertising; no beer advertising is allowed to appear on TV and radio during shows for Russian youth.” According to statistics provided by the Russian Ministry for Health Care, youth currently need no advertising for drinks: beer and vodka of a poor quality is what they can afford.

In addition, actors and public figures will hardly decline offers to appear in beer advertisements, as brewers usually pay them good money.

Other prohibitions are of a rather formal nature. It is forbidden to advertise beer in mass media specializing in “health care, environmental protection, and physical culture.” It prohibited to publish beer ads on the front and last pages of newspapers; on magazine covers; to circulate beer ads in educational, children, and medical organizations; and even within the radius of 100 meters from them. No objections; this is perfectly right.

The persecution of beer advertising was started by the chief sanitary inspector of Russia, Gennady Onishchenko, who harshly criticized the advertising of Klinskoye beer on TV. By the way, the professionally done advertising of Klinskoye beer was some of the best on TV, and what is more important, was also professionally aimed towards the youth. Sun Interbrew, producer of Klinskoye beer says that, when the advertising appeared on TV, sales went up practically in all Russian regions. However, the chief sanitary inspector of Russia says the advertising provokes young people to commit dangerous deeds (to tell the truth, unemployed and scarcely financed Russian youth doesn’t need any special provocation for rage; the have quite enough). The Russian Ministry for Anti-monopoly Policy declared Onishchenko’s objections reasonable and prohibited the advertising of Klinskoye beer on TV. Sun Interbrew filed an action against the decision; however, the Arbitration Court rejected the appeal.

It is strange, but after the pogrom that football fans organized on Manezh Square in Moscow, the authorities decided to pay more and more attention to problems of youth. Some time ago, teenage problems were the concern of law enforcement authorities only. When the Moscow police faced the problem of hooliganism among football fans, it was declared at once that the salesmen and advertising agents who present dangerous videos to youth were guilty of the slaughter. By the way, the same advertising is allowed in all European countries. In fact, the situation is as follows: before attending football matches or concerts, young people drink cheap vodka to raise their spirits, as they know that only beer will be available at the event itself. It is quite natural that young people start raging when they drink beer after vodka (it is a strict condition here in Russia not to mix vodka and beer, otherwise consequences will be sad for those who drink and for the people by their side). You may ask why young people need to drink before concerts. It may be strange, but people here in Russia prefer to drink some alcohol before attending a concert, football match, or some public events to raise their spirits.

The Duma should have thought about the youth long ago. If young people have good opportunities to receive education and work, they will never have time to walk idle.

It is sad, but not a single state organization (including schools and institutes) deals with upbringing of the younger generation. Nobody takes the trouble to explain that if young people don’t study and receive professional education, they will be lost in the future. It is still believed that only families should be engaged in their upbringing. However, according to the criminal statistics in Russia, hard drinking, fights, and even murders are frequent in Russian families, but nobody in Russia cares about such domestic problems. Therefore, unsettled social problems cause such phenomenon as skinheads and so on.

Kira Poznakhirko PRAVDA.Ru

Translated by Maria Gousseva

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