Thursday, March 4, 2010

Washington LCB Changes Advertising Rules

Yesterday the LCB issued a ruling changing some of Washington's rules regarding advertising of alcohol and industry companies. Most of the changes define and update the current rules, but a few are worth noting.

Probably most important are new restrictions on outdoor advertising, under WAC 314-52.-070. The section was amended:
to restrict the number of signs advertising alcohol, brand names, and/or manufacturers that are visible from the public right of way on the outside of a retail premises to a total of four. The size of the signs is limited to 1600 square inches. Amended language to restrict outdoor advertising within 500 feet of places of worship, schools, public playgrounds, or athletic fields used primarily by children.
So no more than 4 signs visible from a roadway, no bigger than 40"x40", and restricted away from youth areas. Presumably this would also impact neon signs, so for example bars with more than four neon signs in their windows might have to remove some.

Also of note was a lot of rulemaking regarding 'money or money's worth' given by industry members to fundraisers and events, and several rules were updated. The LCB also created a new rule:
New Section – WAC 314-52-120 – Sponsorship of public and civic events.
Created a rule to address sponsorship of public and civic events by industry members. Industry members may provide the following:
  • Signage with the industry members name or brand name of their products; and
  • Programs or flyers to be disseminated at the event.
Acknowledgement of the industry member is allowed in any media advertisement where the function recognizes the sponsors of the event. The size of the alcohol industry member sponsor acknowledgement may not exceed the size of the event name.
Inflatables are not allowed inside the event area.
There may be no giveaways of alcohol promotional items of any kind to persons under 21 years of age.
Many of the comments to the rulemaking were from non-profits and foundations expressing concern over the new rules. The fear is that the more complicated money's worth rules will make sponsorship impossible, or at least unattractive.

The LCB Explanatory Statement can be found here (.pdf).

The new rules will go into effect on April 4th.
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The Twentyfirst Amendment Meets the 21st Century by Russell Hews Everett is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License. The opinions expressed on this page are purely my own, and should not be taken to constitute legal representation or advice.