Beer dominates advertising breaches

The offending VB Blue campaign

Brewers large and small were found in breach of The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code during 2016.

Ten complaints against alcohol advertisers were upheld out of 139 received by the ABAC Panel last year, according to the industry watchdog’s 2016 Year In Review.

At least six of these were beer related. Carlton & United Breweries was a dual offender for its ‘Kangabrew’ Instagram post for Carlton Dry, as well as its VB Blues campaign.

The latter saw Victoria Bitter packaged in the NSW State of Origin jersey, which the panel ruled would attract the attention of minors.

A complaint was upheld against Stockade Brew Co for a series of Instagram posts that the panel ruled “collectively encouraged and condoned excessive consumption or the misuse of alcohol”.

Australian Brewery was also found in breach for a cinema advertisement promoting the child-friendly elements of its western Sydney brewpub.

Lion also fell foul with a TV advertisement featuring a central character whose mood changed when he consumed a Hahn beer at a sports stadium.

Stockade’s Instagram posts were in breach

Together with Bright Brewery’s offending Beer Monsters colouring sheets, there were three complaints upheld against small brewers in 2016.

The Craft Beer Industry Association works with ABAC to disseminate information to craft brewers about the scheme, even though the association is not a signatory, executive director Chris McNamara told Australian Brews News.

“With in excess of 400 craft brewing businesses in the market, each doing their best to differentiate themselves, there will always be isolated examples where unintended breaches occur,” he said.

“It is great to see that all three breweries mentioned in the report took immediate steps to remove the material once informed that it had been deemed to breach ABAC’s standards.

“It is important to note that the breweries involved were under no legal compulsion to do so,” McNamara said.

Public airing crucial: ABA
Small brewers have criticised the fact that the ABAC complaints are aired in public, even when the advertising concerned has very limited exposure.

But Fergus Taylor, executive director of pan-industry body Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA), said a public complaints process is vital for the success of the ABAC Scheme.

“It’s important for ABAC to be independent and rigid in its dealings with the industry to maintain the integrity of the process and ensure a level playing field for all companies,” he told Australian Brews News.

“Publicising the results helps raise awareness of issues across the broader industry which in turn helps drive up compliance.”

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