Seltzer marketing in front of ABAC
A seltzer company has been the subject of two complaints to ABAC, with its social media marketing being found to breach the Code.
Elsewhere, Carlton & United Breweries has faced an adjudication panel over the placement of a Pure Blonde beer advertisement.
Hard Fizz Pina Colada
Instagram posts from hard seltzer company Hard Fizz have been the subject of two ABAC complaints.
The first complaint against Hard Fizz’s Pina Colada Sparkling Hard Seltzer came after the company posted various Instagram videos promoting the product.
The videos showcase various shots of a woman dressed in a bikini as she poses with a pineapple, cherries, and whipped cream.
The complainant argued that the videos breached part 3 of the ABAC code, which stipulates that marketing communication must not show the consumption of an alcohol beverage contributing to the achievement of sexual success.
“[The] model in [the] ad performs provocative acts with food types and intimates sexual success as a result of the product,” they said.
The company, which has drawn several complaints since 2021, responded to the complaint by letter stating that the content was intended to “pay homage to a retro flavour of Pina Colada which is experiencing a resurgence in drink trends currently”.
“At Hard Fizz our brand marketing will always feature light-hearted humour, with a “tongue in cheek approach”, which was consistent in the social media content the complaint refers to,” the company said.
“The overwhelming response to these posts was positive and we intend to continue to market to the majority in an appropriate way rather than market to a minority.”
The adjudicating panel noted that its purpose is to assess if the reasonable interpretation of the marketing is that consumption of the product leads to the achievement of sexual success.
With this in mind, the panel upheld the complaint stating that a reasonable person would associate the actions to have “underlying sexual connotations”.
“Taken as a whole, the series of story images and scenes give rise to a reasonable implication that the product is a contributor to the sexually provocative actions of the woman,” the panel said.
Hard Fizz promotional video
The second Hard Fizz complaint refers to a general promotional video the company published to its Instagram page.
The video showcases footage of a person holding a can of Hard Fizz stating, “Who says this shit doesn’t get you drunk??” before showing various shots of people drinking the product on a boat.
The complainant argued that the marketing breached part 3 of the ABAC code which states that marketing communication must not show or encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol.
The company responded to the complaint stating that the content was not produced by its internal team, instead as a collaboration with one of its product ambassadors, DJ Paul Fisher.
“The copy at the commencement of the video was not put through our usual internal procedures which saw it missed before launched as a collaborative post on Instagram,” the company said.
“In this video the depiction was of a product launch event which adhered to all responsible service of alcohol on a licenced vessel and was undertaken in a controlled and safe environment, so we refute the suggestion that it showed footage of people that were appearing intoxicated.”
Despite arguing against the complaint, the company removed the post due to the copy used at the beginning of the video.
The ABAC panel upheld the complaint stating that a reasonable person would interpret the verbal exchange and subsequent party visuals as excessive consumption of alcohol.
Carlton & United Breweries
Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has faced an ABAC adjudication panel over the placement of a Pure Blonde advertisement.
The advertisement aired at 1.40pm on Tuesday, 31 January during a screening of free-to-air TV show Married at First Sight.
“I was led to believe no alcohol ads [should be shown] during [the] day, except [during] international events,” the complainant said.
Part 3 of the ABAC code states that marketing communication must not be directed at minors through a breach of the Placement Rules.
Placement Rules mean that marketing communication must comply with relevant codes regulating the placement of alcohol marketing.
CUB responded to the complaint stating the company received approval for this advertisement to be aired during this time.
It also said that the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice states that commercials for alcoholic drinks may be broadcast in the M and MA+ classification zones, which includes school days between 12:00 and 3:00pm.
The ABAC panel noted this and dismissed the complaint, stating that no placement rules had been breached.