By Andrew Starke
The major liquor suppliers have moved quickly to outline how they will market their brands in line with DrinkWise Australia’s ‘Get the Facts’ campaign.
Diageo is introducing the core message “Get the facts – drinkwise.org.au” on its product packaging in addition to consumer information which is already in place. This includes the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia’s message “Is Your Drinking Harming Yourself or Others” which was introduced in 2009, as well as the standard drinks symbol created by Diageo in 2003.
”We believe in providing consumer information that is evidence-based, and that will be most relevant to the broad majority of people who choose to drink,” said Diageo MD, Tim Salt. “It’s worth noting that the majority of Australians do drink responsibly.”
The new messaging will initially appear on Gordon’s Gin 700ml spirits bottles and Bundaberg Rum and Cola 6-pack cans. It will be rolled out onto other Diageo secondary and primary product packaging in line with scheduled packaging updates, on major brands including Bundaberg Rum, Smirnoff, Johnnie Walker and Baileys.
”We believe that industry can play a role in helping raise community awareness around responsible drinking,” said Salt. “Of course messaging on product labels will not change consumer behaviour alone. It is only one part of a much broader approach needed to address the complex issue of alcohol misuse, and we remain committed to working collaboratively with others to help improve the drinking culture in Australia.”
Brands from Carlton & United Breweries, including market leaders VB and Carlton Draught, will now prompt consumers to ‘Get the Facts’ on alcohol consumption. The ‘Get the Facts’ message and website of DrinkWise Australia will replace the Enjoy Responsibly logo on all products.
“Having a beer with friends is a positive, sustainable part of Australian culture, and our aim is for people to know the facts about their alcohol choices to guide responsible consumption,” said Foster’s Group CEO John Pollaers. “These new label messages will support the many other positive initiatives that are undertaken by DrinkWise and individual member companies to support the goal of changing Australia’s drinking culture.”
CUB cans and many bottles will carry an additional consumer message, either “is your drinking harming yourself or others?”, “kids and alcohol don’t mix”, or “it is safest not to drink while pregnant.”
These topics centre on at-risk consumption and complement the education campaigns DrinkWise conducts both through advertising and in-store information. DrinkWise Australia’s members represent 80 percent of the alcohol market in Australia (by volume), meaning this voluntary label scheme will reach the vast majority of drinking occasions. Beginning with Carlton Draught and Carlton Dry this month, the entire CUB portfolio of beers and ciders will phase in the DrinkWise update as new packaging is printed.
Lion has adopted all three DrinkWise consumer information messages, which will be rotated on an ongoing basis throughout its beer, cider and wine portfolios, as well as through the spirits portfolio of joint-venture partner Bacardi Lion. The messages will sit alongside the DrinkWise ‘Get the Facts’ logo, to encourage consumers to visit the DrinkWise website for more detailed information.
DrinkWise will support the labels through a point-of-sale (POS) campaign, with educational materials provided to consumers in outlets where alcohol is purchased, and through the existing DrinkWise website, which provides information to consumers to help them make informed decisions on their alcohol consumption.
Messages will start appearing immediately, and will continue to roll out as product labels are updated over the next two to three years. Lion launched the labels on its biggest brand, XXXX GOLD, and expects to complete more than 80 percent of its beer and cider portfolio by the end of 2012. Lion-owned wine brands will also commence introducing the labels within 2012, with varietals continuing to be updated as relabelled.
James Brindley, Lion Beer, Spirits and Wine Australia Managing Director, said the labels will complement DrinkWise Australia’s educational campaigns by placing messages that encourage responsible drinking choices directly into the hands of consumers.
“Lion is a founding member of DrinkWise Australia and has long supported its efforts to challenge the Australian drinking culture through national information and education campaigns,” he said.
Accolade Wines will continue its support for responsible alcohol consumption by introducing new alcohol information panels on labels across its Australian portfolio, which includes Hardys, Houghton, Brookland Valley, Banrock Station and Leasingham. Accolade Wines CEO, Troy Christensen, said the company strongly believed that education and informed choice was the key to improving drinking habits within the community.
“We are a long-term supporter of DrinkWise Australia, which encourages responsible alcohol consumption and we see the new labelling as another step in demonstrating our commitment as industry leaders,” he said. “We’ll be providing messages that prompt consumers to think about their drinking and provide a link to the ongoing education activities that Drinkwise will be undertaking to educate people about making informed decisions about their approach to drinking alcohol.”
Christensen said the new labelling would be implemented as Accolade Wines rolled out new vintages.
“People should be treated like adults and be encouraged to make informed decisions,” he added. “We as an industry can play an important role, together with government, public health researchers and stakeholder organisations in getting those consumer messages out there. As a company we want our product to be part of enriching people’s lives and we see this educational labelling as an important part of that.”