Alcohol industry launches TV ad highlighting people’s rights to complain about its commericals

The alcohol industry has launched a TV ad that aims to remind consumer about their right to complain about booze advertisements they think fall foul of the advertising regulations.

The ad, created by Clemenger BBDO, has been launched by the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme, a body involving the three major alcohol industry associations – the Brewers’ Association, the Distilled Spirits Council of Australia and the Winemakers’ Federation of Australia – as well as leading retailers Woolworths and Coles, comes amid current debate about alcohol related violence and the role of marketing in fuelling that behaviour.

Spokeswoman for the campaign Denita Wawn, who is also CEO of the Brewers’ Association, said their research showed a lack of awareness of existing regulation and the avenues for consumers to complain about alcohol advertising.

“We undertook community research in 2013,” said Wawn. “There was one startling piece of evidence (from that research) and that was that no one really knew about the code. So we thought we needed to undertake an awareness campaign.”

The ad will air on Free TV and subscription television and was created by the agency responsible for the DrinkWise Australia online campaign that received mixed reviews and led to a health advocate labelling it as harmful.

Wawn denied that the campaign had been created in response to recent media coverage and said it was about raising awareness of the ABAC code. “No it’s not at all,” she said. “This has been very much a realisation from our research that we were meeting community expectations around advertising and what alcohol advertisers can and can not do.  But it was clear and evident that people were not aware of the code and their capacity to make a complaint.”

Last month The Australian National Preventive Health Agency (ANPHA) recommended in a draft report the banning of alcohol ads around televised sports, citing research that 15-17 year olds were seeing as much alcohol advertisements as adults.

The agency also recommended that ABAC should include all forms of marketing, such as sponsorship, within its self-regulatory scope. The call for more regulation was met with opposition by the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and some creative agencies.

Mariam Chehab and Nic Christensen 


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