Social marketing holds lots of potential but also many perils, especially when it involves minors.
This is especially true for alcohol advertising. It is both illegal and improper for a 13 year old to promote Coors Light or a vodka brand in a television commercial or print ad.
But it appears that Facebook is clearly violating state and federal law – and its own policies – by using its rich social graph to promote alcohol advertising, on the Facebook pages of minors.
The fact that this is happening shouldn’t be a surprise to Facebook. They not only have known about it since 2007 when they launched ads – this is exactly what social graph based advertising was supposed to do. Here’s what Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg said in 2007 when Facebook launched Ads
Facebook Ads represent a completely new way of advertising online. For the last hundred years media has been pushed out to people, but now marketers are going to be a part of the conversation. And they’re going to do this by using the social graph in the same way our users do … Social actions are powerful because they act as trusted referrals and reinforce the fact that people influence people. It’s no longer just about messages that are broadcasted out by companies, but increasingly about information that is shared between friends. So we set out to use these social actions to build a new kind of ad system.
Want proof? Here’s the ad I saw yesterday on my daughter’s Facebook page. My daughter is 13.