Alcohol ad restrictions welcomed by industry

Industry bodies are progressing work on age restrictions across advertising and sales with major initiatives through Google and eftpos.

Announced initially in late 2020, Google introduced greater controls around alcohol and gambling advertising, starting in the US with beta-stage testing, a move which was undertaken in conjunction with the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking.

These restrictions allow ads to be muted, and to limit specific ad categories like alcohol through a new control in Ad Settings which enables people to see fewer alcohol ads.

This test has recently been rolled out across the globe, and industry bodies in Australia have welcomed the move.

John Preston, chair of the Brewers Association of Australia, an organisation which represents the interests of Lion, Carlton & United Breweries and Coopers, said he strongly welcomed the move.

“As an industry we are working hard to ensure our efforts to market our products responsibly keep pace with new digital and social media platforms,” Preston said.

“This initiative will greatly assist with this and we will continue to work closely with digital media providers to promote responsible drinking and ensure our marketing is in line with community expectations.”

Similarly, Andrew Wilsmore CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia said that people should be given greater control over whether they see alcohol-related marketing online.

“Respecting adults’ personal preferences and cultural differences are important considerations that require the same level of sensitivity and action as preventing minors seeing alcohol marketing online,” he said.

“Our international colleagues at the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), through a partnership approach with leading social platforms, have already made great strides in responsible marketing, but their work is far from finished.

“We encourage other digital platforms to follow the lead of Google in raising industry standards to improve age screening and allow users greater control of alcohol advertising.”

Interestingly, the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) faced ridicule last year for a ‘study’ in which one individual recorded numerous alcohol advertisements in the space of an hour on their social media newsfeed.

With these new limitations on the visibility of alcohol advertising, individuals can now turn this off should they wish to protect themselves or minors from alcohol advertising.

FARE was contacted in regards to the new controls, but the organisation said it was not in a position to comment.

It was also announced last week that Retail Drinks Australia and eftpos’ digital age checks solution ConnectID is expanding its trial of the technology which checks ages during online alcohol sales.

Announced at last week’s Liquor Retail Summit, the initial trial involved craft beer retailer Beer Cartel supported by cloud platform MyIntegrator.

In the next phase of the trial, other online liquor sales platforms and identity service providers including Australia Post will be brought in.

Retail Drinks Australia CEO Michael Waters said its members are committed to the responsible sale and supply of alcohol beverage products.

“We’re pleased to be working collaboratively with partners like eftpos and other stakeholders on this ‘industry-first’ age verification pilot for same day online alcohol sale and delivery that seeks to strike the right balance between good regulation and the freedom to retail responsibly,” Waters said in a media statement last week.

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