Booze ads still reaching kids
Research suggests alcohol advertising restrictions are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing.
The research has reviewed new rules imposed by the industry-run Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme in November 2017, and evaluated their ability to effectively regulate the placement of alcohol marketing in Australia.
“The placement rules were introduced to put some restrictions on where alcohol companies could market their products,” said study co-author Julia Stafford from Curtin University.
“The rules include requiring advertisers meet other industry codes that apply to the placement of alcohol advertising, market their products to audiences that are at least 75 per cent adults, and ensure alcohol advertising is not placed within programs aimed at minors.
“We found that they are unlikely to reduce young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing as they are very narrow in scope, exclude key forms of promotion, and place minimal restrictions on marketers.
“All but one of the 24 placement-related determinations published in the first six months of the placement rules were either dismissed or found to be ‘no fault’ breaches.
“The rules allow alcohol advertising to be broadcast during televised sport on weekends and public holidays, and do little to limit outdoor advertising.
“Alcohol ads placed in shopping centres, at sports stadiums, on public transport vehicles, and at bus stops or train stations outside of a 150-metre radius of a school are all consistent with the placement rules.”
First author Hannah Pierce says the review also identified substantial flaws in the regulatory processes of the placement rules.
“The alcohol and advertising industries were heavily involved in the development of the rules, but there was no evidence of consultation with other stakeholders. There are also no penalties for marketers who breach the rules,” Ms Pierce said.
“Our findings support existing evidence that industry-managed systems fail to effectively regulate alcohol marketing and government intervention is needed if young people’s wellbeing is to be a priority.
“It has now been 12 months since the placement rules were introduced and our research shows that a comprehensive, independent review of the ABAC Scheme is needed.”