Prior to April 2011, alcohol brands were banned from advertising on Twitter. Now, they’re working with Twitter itself to come up with a way to verify their followers’ age and target their products to the over-21 tweeting crowd.
Speaking to AdAge, Twitter confirmed that it is working with social media management company Buddy Media to create software for alcohol companies wanting to spend their ad dollars on the 140-character network.
The problem that alcohol brands face when advertising on Twitter (as well as Facebook) is that they have difficulty verifying the age of their users. The FTC requires that alcohol brands only advertise to individuals over the age of 21.
On Facebook, age verification is a simpler process, as all users are required to enter their date of birth. However, Twitter’s more minimalist profile has no age requirements.
To help alcohol brands target their ads on Twitter, the company is using direct messages (DMs) and an age verification website.
When a Twitter user click “Follow” on an alcohol brand’s Twitter page, they’ll be sent a DM with a link to a website that asks for their date of birth. If the user fills out the form within 24 hours (and he or she is over the age of 21), the alcohol account can be followed. Once a user completes one age verification process, he or she doesn’t have to go through it again when following other alcohol brands.
Twitter is testing the program with a small group of advertisers, and may roll it out to a larger group if it is successful.
According to AdAge, MillerCoors is one of the first alcohol advertisers to test out the new system, using it for the Coors Light handle and soon-to-be-launched Miller Lite. Heineken is also one of the test brands.
(Alcohol bottles image via Shutterstock)