(NEW YORK) — Boston Beer Company, which owns the Samuel Adams beer brand, is defending the omission of the reference to God in an ad featuring words from the Declaration of Independence.
In the ad, which has an Independence Day theme, an actor says, “All men are created equal, that they are endowed with certain unalienable rights: life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Declaration of Independence states ”…that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
In a statement, the Boston Beer Company says it was just trying to follow a code implemented by the trade group, The Beer Institute, which based in Washington, D.C., and represents 2,800 breweries.
“The Beer Institute Advertising Code says, ‘Beer advertising and marketing materials should not include religion or religious themes,’” the company said in a statement provided to Fox News. “We agree with that and try to adhere to these guidelines. While we understand your objection to the omission of the phrase ‘by our creator’ in other circumstances (after all, they occur in the Declaration of independence which Samuel Adams signed and helped author) we believe it would be outside our industry guidelines to invoke those religious words in a beer commercial.”
A spokesman for The Beer Institute explained, “Brewers are committed to a policy and practice of responsible advertising and marketing, and the Beer Institute’s Advertising and Marketing Code is a model of responsible industry self-regulation.”
“While our guidelines for brewers and beer importers have evolved over time to meet the country’s evolving social, commercial and technological norms, the premise of these guidelines has remained unchanged — to ensure that brewers and beer importers market and advertise their products responsibly and to adults of legal drinking age,” according to a statement provided by Christopher Thorne, the Beer Institute’s vice president of communications.
“The Beer Institute’s Advertising and Marketing Code does say that beer advertising and marketing materials should not employ religion or religious themes,” the Institute’s statement continued. “It also says that brewers should use the perspective of the reasonable adult consumer of legal drinking age in advertising and marketing their products. Ultimately, what determines adherence to the Advertising and Marketing Code is whether someone is using religion or religious themes to promote their beer in a way that would offend a reasonable adult consumer of legal drinking age.”
The institute’s Ad and Marketing Code allows for review of any public complaints by a third-party panel, the Code Compliance Review Board.
“This independent panel is empowered to render judgments on whether particular ads are in violation of the Ad and Marketing Code,” the Institute explains.
Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio
Debra Goldschmidt, CNN
David Goldman, CNN
Sarah Anderson, Deseret News