The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code’s latest report revealed a high level of complaints in the third quarter of 2020 with the adjudication panel finding 16 breaches across a variety of media and code standards.
Overall there were 53 complaints and 23 determinations, according to its quarterly report.
Breweries were off to a good start this year with several months of low levels of complaints, but marketing during the COVID-19 pandemic and issues with packaging and social media posts have seen complaints increase.
Half of these breaches related to social media and packaging by independent breweries, which has seen ABAC is work with the Independent Brewers Association to deliver training to the independent brewing community on ABAC and responsible alcohol marketing standards, including an industry webinar in November.
The report noted that said that the majority of independent brewers had promptly cooperated with the ABAC process and committed to responsible marketing standards. The body has announced an industry webinar in November.
Kylie Lethrbidge, general manager at the IBA, told Brews News that it was a chance for brewers to get on the front foot with marketing obligations.
“ABAC wanted to work with the industry more, and we were working on advertising standards internally anyway. But recently we’ve just noted more complaints really and thought it would be a good opportunity to help our members, using some dos and don’ts and examples to help them avoid those complaints,” she explained.
Appealing to minors
Another focus of complaints in the past quarter has been on the potential appeal of marketing to minors.
As a result, the advertising watchdog has brought in research body Youth Insight to provide observations on themes, designs and imagery that 14-17-year olds may find appealing in marketing.
It will assist adjudication and pre-vetting panels in assessing alcohol marketing and has been used to update the ABAC guidance notes and compliance guides.
ABAC also pointed out that it is important for alcohol marketers to be aware that social media platform TikTok does not permit alcohol advertising, including influencer activity.
“We acknowledge that alcohol advertising is not prohibited in Australia; however, with a view to maintaining a safe and positive environment for our user base, many of whom are aged 13-18, we have taken a conservative approach and do not currently allow any ads promoting alcoholic beverages or associated services in this market,” it said.
The report highlighted that alcohol marketers should be aware that TikTok does not permit alcohol advertising (including influencer activity) on their platform with the platform providing the following statement:
“We acknowledge that alcohol advertising is not prohibited in Australia; however, with a view to maintaining a safe and positive environment for our user base, many of whom are aged 13-18, we have taken a conservative approach and do not currently allow any ads promoting alcoholic beverages or associated services in this market.”