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NBC relaxes policy on alcohol advertising

NEW YORK - NBC has become the first major US broadcaster to lift its ban on advertising hard liquor, and is set to run advertisements for distilled spirits after 9pm.

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The first advertiser lined up is Guinness UDV, owned by Diageo and home of brands such as Smirnoff and Bailey's.

The network has some strict guidelines accompanying the change in policy: actors appearing in the ads must be at least 30 years old; the ads can only be broadcast in programmes where more than 85% of the audience is over 21 years of age; and no professional athletes can appear in the ads.

It is reported that NBC rivals such as CBS, ABC and Fox have no current plans to change their policies, but it is predicted they will look closely at the reception for NBC's move.

In the US, it has been more than 50 years since major networks have accepted ads for hard liquor, although more recently cable networks have carried liquor ads.

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