The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) has seen a slight increase in complaints and determinations compared with the first two quarters this year.
ABAC Chair Harry Jenkins says the determinations made this quarter by the ABAC Adjudication Panel highlight some important areas where care is needed when developing alcohol marketing.
Some companies like to include nostlagic imagery in their marketing, as it reminds adults of their youth. However, if the appeal of a nostalgic reference or imagery is enduring in its popularity for the current generation of minors it is likely to breach Code standards, says Mr Jenkins.
“[This] occurred when figures from the ‘Little Miss’ children’s book series were used in a social media post,” he says.”
Watch the wave
The Panel also considered the use of the trending ‘wave’ filter on an Instagram post this quarter and found that the combination of the filter effects and the caption encouraged excessive consumption or alternatively, treated it as amusing, which breaches Code standards.
“It is important to remember that humour won’t save a marketing communication that fails to meet Code standards,” Mr Jenkins says.
Another useful reminder arising from Panel decisions, is that where a product packaging or a marketing campaign promotes a positive community benefit, Code standards for responsible marketing cannot be ‘traded off’ against another desirable outcome.
“That is, the ABAC does not envisage a marketing communication that is inconsistent with a Code standard will be allowed if the marketing communication serves some other worthwhile purpose,” Mr Jenkins says.
ABAC pre-vetting service
Mr Jenkins also highlighted the ABAC pre-vetting service, an independent check that can be used to ensure marketing is meeting responsible alcohol marketing standards.
A new pre-vetting lodgement system that was launched earlier this year enables companies to now lodge revised material or concepts for an existing application direct through the database, rather than via email.
“We encourage companies to lodge material direct as this is the fastest and most efficient way to have revised material pre-vetted,” he said.
More information about using the pre-vetting service is available here.
ABAC also offers compliance checklists as a free resource, available here.