ABAC packaging complaints down in 2020

Packaging complaints were down in the first quarter according to ABAC after last year’s record year.

The alcohol advertising watchdog’s first quarter report showed ABAC deliberated on 23 complaints, with 13 breaches of ABAC standards as defined by the panel.

It said that of those upheld complaints, only one had been reviewed by ABAC’s pre-vetting service.

Its most recent judgements concerned social media posts from James Squire One Fifty Lashes, a Pirate Life Instagram post, and a third party ad for Coopers.

Despite lower numbers of packaging complaints, ABAC still encouraged marketers to use its pre-vetting service. Overall, there marketing materials were pre-vetted 531 times the first three months of the year.

In its annual report ABAC said that it believed that packaging complaints were going up due to the expansion of the craft beer sector and the distinctive and creative packaging that producers adopt.

However in measures to educate the sector, ABAC launched its Alcohol Packaging Compliance Guide which it said was well-received.

It provides checklists and visual examples to assist alcohol manufacturers and creative agencies, with a particular focus on ensuring the packaging does not have strong or evident appeal to minors.

Additionally, ABAC highlighted the issues around third party advertising and age restrictions, saying it is possible to age restrict individual posts on a third party Facebook account.

“Age restriction controls available on digital platforms are always evolving and prior to placing an ad it is the marketer’s responsibility to check with the platform to ensure all available age restriction controls have been activated,” ABAC said.

The International Alliance for Responsible Drinking and World Federation of Advertisers have developed “how to” guides on implementing age restrictions for alcohol marketing via Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Youtube.

While it remained a “busy period” for ABAC, the decline in complaints and breaches in the first quarter of 2020 indicated greater cut through in the industry about alcohol advertising obligations and requirements.

This follows ABAC’s announcement of greater compliance and enforcement powers last month.

ABAC said that it would now be allowed to notify relevant state liquor licensing authorities, media platforms and associations, Government, media and other relevant organisations of the marketer’s failure to comply if marketing was judged to be in breach of the code and no changes were made.

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