Print advertisements for alcohol have been in existence for hundreds of years, but their promotion on radio and television has been the source of much consternation and debate, with different groups weighing in on the subject with increased fervor over the past decade. Most recently, the Advertising Standards Authority of Ireland has decided to ban a recent ad for Guinness beer after several complaints were registered. The television advertisement (which was set in a village devastated by a volcanic eruption) showed a barefoot man walking over lava so that he and others could enter a local pub. Advertising alcohol in the United States, particularly spirits, has received a great deal of attention lately as well, with the American Medical Association effectively leading the effort to get advertisements for hard liquor off of NBC successfully in March 2002. Previously, there had been an informal agreement among the major television networks since 1948 not to allow advertisements for hard liquor, which lasted until December 2001 when NBC began airing commercials for a popular brand of vodka.
The first link is to an Irish Times news article about the banning of the recent beer commercial in Ireland. The second link is to the Advertising Standards Authority for Ireland Web site, which contains their code of advertising standards. The third link leads to the Guinness Web site, where visitors can view the recently banned advertisement. The fourth and fifth links are responses to the decision by NBC in March 2002 to no longer air advertisements for spirits, the first one originating from the American Medical Association and the second from the Distilled Spirits Council. Sponsored by the Center for Science in the Public Interest's Alcohol Policies Project, the sixth site is designed to "help focus public and policy maker attention on high-leverage policy reforms to reduce the devastating health and social consequences of drinking." The last link leads to a Web site designed by Professor David Hanson of the State University of New York at Potsdam that questions the findings of different research projects that state that advertising increases alcohol consumption.