Members of the Brewers Association advertise responsibly and comply with a robust industry-regulated system. Evidence indicates that banning or censorship of alcohol advertising is an ineffective tool to reduce alcohol misuse.
Will a ban on alcohol advertising lead to a reduction in alcohol misuse?
Evidence from France and New Zealand suggest that the banning of alcohol advertising and sponsorship has no impact on reducing alcohol misuse. While France opted to ban alcohol advertisements in the early 1990s and New Zealand chose to allow television advertising, the per capita consumption of alcohol continued to fall at similar rates in both countries.
Furthermore, Denmark continues to rank as having one of the highest reported rates of alcohol consumption among the underage population despite their heavy restrictions on print and outdoor advertising and the ban of broadcast advertising of anything but low-alcohol products.
Compliance to a strict and robust code such as the ABAC Scheme ensures that alcohol promotion refrains from being a factor of alcohol misuse.
How is alcohol promotion regulated in Australia?
Members of the Brewers Association in Australia comply with a number of well-monitored regulatory, media and industry codes. The key system is the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code (ABAC) which covers acceptable content for all alcohol promotion, including television, print, billboard advertisements, digital marketing, sports sponsorship and the naming and packaging of products.
Key elements of the ABAC include that the promotion of alcohol; must not encourage excessive consumption or abuse of alcohol; not have a strong or evident appeal to children or adolescents; not show alcohol as a cause of a significant change in mood or the achievement of success; not show consumption of alcohol prior to activities that require a high degree of alertness or physical co-ordination, such as driving.
Complaints about alcohol marketing can be lodged with the ASB who refer alcohol complaints to ABAC. An independent complaints panel headed by Chief Adjudicator, The Hon Michael Lavarch AO, determines the complaint.
The ABAC system also provides a pre-vetting process whereby marketing is independently reviewed against the code before being made public.
Alcohol beverage marketing must also be consistent with other applicable laws and codes, including the Trade Practices Act, the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) Code of Ethics, the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice, the Commercial Radio Codes of Practice and the Outdoor Media Association Code of Ethics.
How is alcohol promotion regulated in New Zealand?
The Code for Advertising Liquor is monitored by New Zealand’s Advertising Standards Authority. The Code is designed to ensure that liquor advertising is conducted in a manner that neither conflicts with nor detracts from the need for responsibility and moderation in liquor merchandising and consumption, and does not encourage underage consumption.
Similar to the ABAC scheme, approval for marketing can be granted by the Liquor Advertising Pre-vetting Service (LAPS).