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Beer doesn’t mix with kids’ activity sheets, watchdog finds

April 1, 2016

The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Panel has upheld a complaint against a small craft brewery for its ‘beer monsters’ colouring-in sheets made available for children at its family-friendly brewpub.

Bright Brewery’s activity sheets were designed by Melbourne-based illustrator Scott Triffle, with each depicting different characters involved in the beer-making process: An IPA Beer Monster, a Marzen Beer Monster, a Dubbel Beer Monster, a Porter Beer Monster, a Brewer Ryan Beer Monster and a Stout Beer Monster.

On February 19, a member of the public complained to ABAC about the activity sheets, which were available by request at the venue.

Bright Brewery is not a signatory to the ABAC Scheme and as such is not contractually bound to its standards of good marketing practice, nor is it obliged to accept a panel adjudication.

The company nevertheless cooperated fully with the ABAC Panel’s processes, withdrawing the activity sheets and providing a full written response to the complaint.

“It was not the intention for the activity sheets to be a marketing communication. The aim was to enhance the family friendly nature of our tourism-driven business and provide a memento for customers to remember their visit to Bright Brewery,” the company said.

“On review of the complaint, Bright Brewery Management recognises that there may be ambiguity with this form of communication in the connection to an alcohol production process being exposed to children. Therefore, they have currently been withdrawn.”

The ABAC Panel upheld the complaint, finding that the materials were directed expressly at children and the characters, together with the inclusion of the company name and logo would breach the ABAC requirements.

Bright Brewery said it is considering having the activity sheets redrawn so that they do not include any beer references.

“We believe providing a creative activity for families while visiting our restaurant is a great service that is aligned to the family friendly nature of our business, and we are keen to continue supporting local artists such as Scott Triffle,” a Bright Brewery spokesman told Australian Brews News.

ABAC advises pre-vetting
The ABAC Panel advised Bright Brewery to seek the assistance of the ABAC pre-vetting service in developing its marketing and communications.

The pre-vetting service provides an independent assessment to the company that its materials are consistent with good practices in alcohol marketing and communication.

ABAC informed Australian Brews News that it costs a non-signatory $150 (ex GST) per half hour to have marketing material pre-vetted. Most straightforward applications are considered within half an hour.

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