The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) has seen more complaints related to packaging in the last quarter than are usually received in a year, it announced this week.
Of 27 complaints in the last three months, 13 determinations were made. Those that were not considered by the panel did not raise Code-related issues or were raising a consistently dismissed issue.
Seven were dismissed and another six were upheld. Last quarter, 11 determinations were made.
Two of the breaches of the code this quarter were relating to alcohol packaging, meanwhile seven packaging complaints are currently awaiting decision, ABAC said. It looks set to be investigating a complaint against One Drop Brewing and Kellogg’s cornflakes brew after FARE announced it would be complaining to ABAC about the collaboration last week.
ABAC chair Harry Jenkins said that the industry should take heed of the increasing number of packaging complaints made to the watchdog.
“The desire of some manufacturers to be creative is understandable, but they must have regard to wrongfully appealing to minors. Yet again, this underscores the necessity for producers, especially the small players, to pre-vet their marketing with ABAC before going to market,” he said in a statement to the media.
Only one brewery faced a complaint which was upheld by ABAC, and Hop Nation was mentioned for its cooperation in immediately discontinuing orders for its Jedi Juice packaging following the complaint.
Complaints relating to a Cellarbrations TV ad which ABAC said encouraged excessive drinking and a Facebook post promoting the alcohol content of cruisers and were removed following the complaint process.
A complaint against Skinny Freezers was upheld, but the Australian distributors of the US Zooper Dooper-style alcoholic ice lolly have not responded to complaints and ABAC has referred them to the Victorian Commission for Gambling and Liquor Regulation.
In the quarterly report, ABAC encouraged alcohol producers to use its pre-vetting service to have their labels checked for compliance.
654 instances of marketing were pre-vetted and 107 were rejected this quarter. This is a noticeable increase from the 481 pre-vets determined last quarter.
In addition, Independent Brands Australia which represents 2,7000 independent alcohol retailers including Cellarbrations, The Bottle O, IGA Liquor and others, has become a signatory of the scheme.