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  The ILCC Legal Division

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TPP-9:
Signage And Other Advertising Materials

I. Purpose

To set the policy of the Illinois Liquor Control Commission and establish the procedures regarding the nature, content, and displaying of signage and other advertising materials given to retailers by manufacturers, distributors and importing distributors and the usage of such signs and materials by the retailers.

II. Policy

It is the policy of this Commission to allow both inside and outside signs, permanent and temporary, and other advertising materials to be displayed in and about a retailer’s licensed premises; subject to limitations set forth in Sec. 5/6-6 (P.A. 90-655, eff. 7-30-98.).

III. Statute

This Commission’s Trade Practice Policy TPP-1 on the “Of Value” Standard is incorporated herein by reference. The Statute provides in relevant part that a manufacturer, distributor, or im­porting distributor may furnish, give, lend or rent and erect, install, repair and maintain to or for any retail licensee, for use at any one time in or about or in connection with a retail establishment on which the products of the manufacturer, distributor or importing distributor are sold, the following signs and inside advertising materials as authorized in subparts (i), (ii), (iii), and (iv):

  1. Permanent outside signs shall be limited to one outside sign, per brand, in place and in use at any one time, costing not more than $893, exclusive of erection, installation, repair and maintenance costs, and permit fees and shall bear only the manufacturer’s name, brand name, trade name, slogans, markings, trademark, or other symbols commonly associated with and gen­erally used in identifying the product including, but not limited to, “cold beer,” “on tap,” “carry out,” and “packaged liquor.”
  2. Temporary outside signs shall be limited to one tem­porary outside sign per brand. Examples of temporary outside signs are banners, flags, pennants, streamers, and other items of a temporary and non-permanent nature. Each temporary outside sign must include the manufacturer's name, brand name, trade name, slogans, markings, trademark, or other symbol commonly as­sociated with and generally used in identifying the product. Temporary outside signs may also include, for example, the product, price, packaging, date or dates of a promotion and an announcement of a retail licensee's specific sponsored event if the temporary outside sign is intended to promote a product, and provided that the announcement of the retail licensee's event and the product promotion are held simultaneously. However, temporary outside signs may not include names, slogans, markings, or logos that relate to the retailer. Nothing in this subpart (ii) shall prohibit a distributor or importing distributor from bearing the cost of creating or printing a temporary outside sign for the retail licensee's specific sponsored event or from bearing the cost of creating or printing a temporary sign for a retail licensee con­taining, for example, community goodwill ex­pressions, regional sporting event announcements, or seasonal messages, provided that the primary purpose of the temporary outside sign is to highlight, promote, or advertise the product. In addition, temporary outside signs provided by the manufacturer to the distributor or importing distributor may also include, for example, subject to the limitations of this Section, preprinted community goodwill expressions, sporting event announcements, seasonal messages, and manufacturer promotional announcements. However, a distributor or importing distributor shall not bear the cost of such manufacturer preprinted signs.
  3. Permanent inside signs, whether visible from the outside or the inside of the premises, include, but are not limited to: alcohol lists and menus that may include names, slogans, markings, or logos that relate to the retailer; neons; illuminated signs; clocks; table lamps; mirrors; tap handles; de­calcomanias; window painting; and window trim. All permanent inside signs in place and in use at any one time shall cost in the aggregate not more than $2000 per manufacturer. A permanent inside sign must include the man­ufacturer's name, brand name, trade name, slogans, markings, trademark, or other symbol commonly associated with and generally used in identifying the product. However, permanent inside signs may not include names, slogans, markings, or logos that relate to the retailer. For the purpose of this subpart (iii), all permanent inside signs may be displayed in an adjacent courtyard or patio commonly referred to as a "beer garden" that is a part of the retailer's licensed premises.
  4. Temporary inside signs shall include, but are not limited to, lighted chalk boards, acrylic table tent beverage or hors d'oeuvre list holders, banners, flags, pennants, streamers, and inside advertising materials such as posters, placards, bowling sheets, table tents, inserts for acrylic table tent beverage or hors d'oeuvre list holders, sports schedules, or similar printed or illustrated materials; however, such items, for example, as coasters, trays, napkins, glassware and cups shall not be deemed to be inside signs or advertising materials and may only be sold to retailers. All temporary inside signs and inside advertising materials in place and in use at any one time shall cost in the aggregate not more than $325 per manufacturer. Nothing in this subpart (iv) prohibits a distributor or importing distributor from paying the cost of printing or cre­ating any tem­porary inside banner or inserts for acrylic table tent beverage or hors d'oeuvre list holders for a retail licensee, provided that the primary purpose for the banner or insert is to highlight, promote, or advertise the product. For the purpose of this subpart (iv), all temporary inside signs and inside advertising materials may be displayed in an adjacent courtyard or patio commonly referred to as a "beer garden" that is a part of the retailer's licensed premises.”

The restrictions contained in the section do not apply to signs, or promotional or advertising materials furnished by manufacturers, distributors or importing distributors to a government owned or operated facility holding a retailer’s license, as described in Section 5/6-5, nor to airplane licenses.

IV. Procedures

Retailers are allowed to have one permanent and one temporary sign per product brand displayed on the exterior of the licensed premises. Permanent signs are those made of wood, glass, metal, mirrors, neon, or other materials reasonably considered to be of a substantially permanent nature. Temporary signs include banners, flags, pennants, streamers, and other items of a temporary and non-permanent nature. Each sign must bear the logo, trademark, etc. of the manufacturer of the brand and be displayed on the exterior of the premises, such as on the building itself, on fences, in parking lots, or upon other structures reasonably considered to be a part of the realty upon which the licensed premises operates.

Signs painted on outside walls are considered exterior signs. Signs attached to the inside of a window but facing toward the outside are considered interior signs. Signs attached to the outside of a window are considered exterior signs. The concept of two signs per brand means that each brand can be represented by only one permanent and one temporary sign, however, there is no limit on how many times the brand name or brand logo can be contained on each sign. A permanently affixed two-sided banner is considered one sign. If a brand is contained on a permanent sign at least once, it can only appear on one other temporary banner, and vice-versa. Multi-logo signs count as one sign per brand for every brand depicted thereon. If such a sign is displayed, no brand name, trade name, etc., on the sign can be contained on any other exterior sign of similar type on the premises. A two sided banner, flag, pennant, poster, or streamer displaying the brand name on both sides is considered one outside temporary sign, A multiple sided or wrap around sign or signs affixed to a pole, fence, or other stationary object displaying the same brand name on both sides shall also be considered one outside temporary sign.

Signage on fences are considered outside signage. Umbrellas in beer gardens and on sidewalk cafes are considered inside signs and subject to the inside sign dollar limitations. Umbrellas in beer gardens do not affect the value limitations or one sign per brand limitations of outside signage.

Inflatable signs are allowable so long as they comply with the provisions and limitations of Section 5/6-6. Special event licensees may display inflatable signs, and there are no other restrictions on exterior signs displayed by a special event licensee, if the event is not held on a currently licensed retail premises.

If a location has been issued more than one license, it is allowed as many exterior signs per brand as it has accesses from the outside. Conversely, if none of the licensed premises has direct access from the outside, no exterior signs are permitted.

Temporary inside signs shall also include product displays such as display racks, bins, barrels or casts or similar items the primary function of which is to temporarily hold and display alcoholic beverages. All product displays must bear conspicuous and substantial advertising matter containing the brand, name of the manufacturer or manufacturers’ logos, permanently inscribed or securely affixed. The cost of such product display shall be includable in the aggregate cost per manufacturer under dollar limitations for temporary inside signs. Temporary inside signs may include names, slogans, markings or logos that relate to the retailer.

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