FTC: Ads for ‘Alcopops’ Not Aimed at Teens

WASHINGTON — The Federal Trade Commission has determined that ads for sweet alcoholic beverages like Mike’s Hard Lemonade and Smirnoff Ice do not target teens.

The FTC investigated the ads and company marketing documents after a Washington based public advocacy group — Center for Science in the Public Interest — filed a complaint last year. “We do not believe that the available information supports the conclusion that the new flavored malt beverages, which your letter refers to as ‘alcopops,’ are targeted to minors,” said J. Howard Beales, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, in a letter to CSPI June 3.

Beales did say that the labeling on the products needed improvement because some of the beverages do not list the alcohol content. Beales said in the letter that he intends to pursue the labeling issue with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms.

CSPI said it will continue to fight for better labeling. “We are angry and disappointed that the FTC is ignoring the threats to young people,” said Kimberly Miller, CSPI’s project manager for its Alcohol Policies Project. “But we are pleased that they acknowledge the core of our complaint that the labeling on ‘alcopops’ is inadequate to differentiate them from youth oriented soft drinks.”