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March 1, 2021

Australia’s Responsible Alcohol Marketing on the job

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Alcohol marketing operates under strict rules. Photo supplied.

While we may not always be responsible with our alcohol intake, the people who market alcohol have to be a bit more careful in their approach, and yesterday Australia’s Responsible Alcohol Marketing Scheme (ABAC) released its annual report and review of its 2018 operations.

Harry Jenkins who took over as ABAC Chair on July 1, 2018, said that since his appointment, he has been encouraged that those responsible for ABAC have continued their serious intent to ensure that the scheme operates effectively. ‘I am now fully aware the ABAC operates in a marketing landscape that is ever changing,’ he said. ‘Our challenge is to keep pace with changes in the digital media landscape.’

In 2018 ABAC celebrated 20 years of responsible marketing regulation in Australia. ‘Over those years ABAC has provided an effective but flexible framework within which standards for responsible alcohol marketing are set and regularly evaluated,’ said Jenkins.

‘A report published in July outlines the significant development of the scheme over the past 20 years and illustrates the way in which it has responded to changes in community expectations and the significant evolution in the media landscape.’

Jenkins said that 2018 had also seen the consolidation and testing of placement requirements incorporated into the ABAC Code in late 2017. ‘The placement requirements aim to ensure that alcohol advertising is not targeted to minors.

‘The incorporation of placement rules into the ABAC scheme was a significant policy shift that has been welcomed by policy makers and the industry.

‘During 2018 the rules were tested by complaints, including by public health groups, resulting in the highest number of determinations and the highest number of code breaches in the 20+ year history of ABAC.’

The Scheme’s pre-vetting service checks alcohol ads prior to publication (a record 1751 requests during 2018) and its complaints process assesses public complaints about alcohol marketing.

The ABAC Adjudication Panel made 61 determinations relating to complaints received in 2018, with 21 upheld and 40 dismissed.  All marketing materials for upheld complaints were removed.

More information about the Code is available at: www.abac.org.au.

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