ABAC complaints continue to decline


ABAC complaints continued to fall in the second quarter of 2022, according to the alcohol advertising watchdog’s latest quarterly report.

21 complaints were made between April and June this year, a stable pattern of decline following the 27 complaints made last quarter.

Eight of the complaints were determinations, with half being upheld by the considering panels.

Meanwhile, pre-vetting numbers continue to stay high with 776 requests made in the recent quarter. Of these requests, 127 were rejected.

Despite the reduction in complaints, ABAC has claimed the recent determinations have shed clarity on new issues within the industry.

One recent example was the case of Hop Nation Brewing Co’s Mind Ya Head non-alcoholic XPA, which related to a billboard marketing the product with the tagline “Dodge hazards with a clear head”.

The complainant argued that “The only mention of the product(s) being alcohol-free is on the picture of the can itself; there is no mention of it in the text block, nor any comparative statement (used such in Heineken 0.0 and Carlton Zero advertising).”

While the panel ruled that the billboard was not in breach of its code, it did state that companies should be responsible when marketing no-alcohol products.

“It is important that marketers place close attention not only to the letter of the ABAC but its spirit and intent in devising marketing communications for such products,” it said.

Other recent adjudications have raised concerns over advertising placement on social media, packaging and associating alcoholic beverages with sexual success.

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