Alcohol brands Baileys and Hard Fizz flout ABAC rules in Q1

The industry’s alcohol marketing watchdog, the ABAC, has received more than 50 complaints against alcohol advertising and made 24 determinations in the first quarter of 2021.

After a record level of ABAC activity in 2020, there has been a steady number of pre-vetting requests, higher complaint levels and a similar number of determinations when compared with the same quarter last year.

Breaches this quarter related primarily to social media posts, with two relating to packaging, two relating to placement and one relating to a branded giveaway.

Independent producer Delvi Seltzer was one of the brands reprimanded for its Instagram post showing a person floating on a mattress in a pool with open drinks floating near them and a branded pool float drink holder giveaway both deemed to be encouraging drinking while swimming.

According to ABAC standards, alcohol marketing cannot encourage irresponsible behaviour related to the consumption or presence of alcohol, or show the consumption of alcohol before or during any activity that, for safety reasons, requires a high degree or alertness or physical co-ordination, such as swimming.

As a result, Delvi Seltzer removed the Instagram post and discontinued the pool float promotion.

The most common breaches of code standards this quarter related to depictions of alcohol use in conjunction with swimming pools and suggestions that alcohol has some sort of therapeutic benefit.

Hayden Quinn (above) left is one of the co-founders of Hard Fizz. 

Locally-owned seltzer brand Hard Fizz was also reprimanded by the ABAC for Instagram posts showing the consumption of alcohol while in a swimming pool, encouraging binge drinking and objectifying women.

The brand, founded by a number of local personalities including music star Fisher, Mad Hueys co-founder Joel Scott, Raen Eyewear founder Justin Heit, celebrity chef and TV personality Hayden Quinn and more, was forced to remove the posts that breached the code guidelines.

Diageo-owned Baileys also came under fire for its gift box which was found to appeal “to minors via candy and dessert/sweets illustrations”, despite having been pre-vetted by the ABAC Panel.

The ABAC Panel found that the packaging breach the code as it included desserts and milkshakes styled in a way that makes the imagery relatable to minors noting: “the style of desserts depicted would resonate strongly with minors i.e. strawberry iced cupcakes, creamy milkshakes, or ice-cream soda like drinks”.

The gift pack was discontinued.

All brands found to have been in breach of the code have co-operated with the ABAC processes and promptly removed material found to be inconsistent with ABAC responsible marketing standards.

Industry education and training continues to be a high priority for ABAC. To complement the guidance materials available ABAC has recently released a free comprehensive online training course and video series which runs for just over an hour through the ABAC website.


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