ABAC complaints increase in latest quarter


ABAC has seen a slight increase in complaints during the third quarter of 2022, according to its latest quarterly report.

30 complaints were made between July and September this year, an increase following the 21 complaints made last quarter. The quarter also had 13 determinations with seven of these upheld by adjudicating panels.

The complaint numbers for the third quarter are the highest so far this year, after 27 complaints were made in the first quarter.

Pre-vetting numbers continued to increase steadily, with 954 requests made throughout the recent quarter. 180 of these requests were rejected.

The report also highlighted areas of concern surrounding alcohol marketing, specifically the use of “nostalgic imagery”.

An example of this was the case of an Instagram post from delivery service MILKRUN, which showcased characters from the ‘Little Miss’ franchise next to alcoholic beverages.

The complainant argued that the post promoted excessive use of alcohol and appealed to minors by utilising a popular children’s book.

MILKRUN responded by stating it had removed the post prior to receiving the complaint from ABAC, as “it was not compliant with the Code or MILKRUN’s own standards for the responsible content of alcohol marketing”.

The company also noted that the post was intended to invoke “nostalgic appeal” to adults fond of the cartoon characters.

The panel ultimately decided to uphold the complaints, as the code specifically states that alcohol marketing communication must not appeal strongly to minors or encourage excessive consumption.

“Some companies like to include in their marketing imagery that is nostalgic for adults as it reminds them of their youth,” ABAC Chair Harry Jenkins AO said in a media release.

“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 as occurred when figures from the ‘Little Miss’ children’s book series were used in a social media post.”

Another recent adjudication concerned the use of a popular TikTok filter trend by Mighty Craft’s Better Beer, which highlighted the role of influencer marketing in alcohol promotion.

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