The 2nd quarter of 2018 has been a busy time for the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme.
In ABAC’s own words, it “has seen an unusually high number of breaches of the ABAC Code”.
It would appear that this has come about through the increasing use of inexpensive social media campaigns, especially by liquor retailers, combined with a lack of knowledge of the restrictions in the ABAC Standards.
Also, whilst on the face of it, ABAC Standards only apply to companies and organisations who are signatories to the Code, in one case the advertiser (Premix King Ascot Vale) did not respond to ABAC, and did not remove the Facebook post which was the subject of the complaint, and as a result the breach has been referred by ABAC to the liquor regulator (VCGLR), which is investigating.
And for smaller producers who aren't signatories, they need to bear in mind that the major chains are signatories, so they won't stock any products which aren't ABAC-compliant.
So what were all these breaches?
Three of the breaches involved the use of images of people under 25 years of age on social media (the ABAC standards require models in alcohol advertisements to be at least 25 and appear to be adult) – and in some cases the posts were those of social media influencers.
Some of the complaints also involved failure of advertisers to engage appropriate age-gating controls.
In one instance, the post (below) referred to an alcohol product leading to a loss of dignity, which was a breach because it suggests excessive alcohol consumption and irresponsible alcohol related behaviour.
Another post (right) breached the Standard
which prevents marketing of alcohol which
encourages excessive consumption of alcohol,
or which suggests that the consumption of alcohol
offers a therapeutic benefit.
In a case involving a producer’s social media marketing, Gage Road’s Alby Beer facebook page failed to apply age restriction controls, and a marketing post depicted a young male (under 25 years and possibly under 18 years) skateboarding as the central character -resulting in the finding by ABAC that the post was likely to strongly resonate with males under the age of 18 .
Other complaints included: