By Amy Feldman

By Amy E. Feldman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – It’s almost time to watch the Super Bowl. Ads. Who cares about the game? But a lot of people care about the ads, for which advertisers are paying $4.5 million for a 30 second spot this year.

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Many people are concerned that the clever alcohol ads will promote underage drinking – so what are the legal limits on alcohol advertising?

Fewer than you think.

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There are several federal agencies like the FTC and the FCC that have some – but not a lot – of authority over alcohol ads, and the focus is mostly to prevent underage drinking. And the networks have their own standards – which many fear fall by the wayside when advertisers pay $100,000 a second.

Interestingly, almost all regulation is self-regulation – the standards are created by alcohol industry trade associations in order to preempt the government from deciding it should step in and regulate. Those codes encourage alcohol to be advertised only during programs targeted mostly to adults, prohibit ads from using the alcohol content as a selling point, depicting people chugging beer or playing drinking games, and require the models to be at least 25.

They also don’t allow cartoon characters or advertise in college newspapers.

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Of course the best way to discourage underage drinking is for the people watching the ads not to be drunk while watching with their kids.