By James Atkinson

Woolworths has agreed to discontinue its Duff Beer control brand following a complaint that the product and its advertising would appeal to children, in a decision the alcohol industry says clearly demonstrates the rigour of the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC).

The ABAC Complaints Panel found that, regardless of any efforts by Woolworths to downplay its links with The Simpsons, Duff Beer was intrinsically linked with the program. The Panel upheld the complaint by the Alcohol Policy Coalition.

Woolworths became a signatory to the ABAC Scheme in June last year. A spokeswoman said the company will respect the Panel’s adjudication and will discontinue the product after its existing stock is sold.

ABAC spokeswoman Denita Wawn told TheShout the decision was “a reflection that the quasi-regulatory body that we have in place is working and working well”. 

“Woolworths as a signatory has done the right thing and we commend them for that, because it’s obviously a costly commercial decision for them to make,” she said.

She said the decision demonstrates to ABAC’s critics that while the scheme is funded by industry, the complaints panel is completely independent.

“They take complaints very seriously,” Wawn said.

Woolworths said it received ABAC pre-vetter approval in March for the Duff Beer advertisements, but Wawn stressed that pre-vetting is only “a guide to industry in ensuring that they are compliant”.

“It does not provide them with a guarantee that the panel will find in their favour,” she said.

The Shout Team

The leading online news service for Australia's beer, wine, spirits and hospitality industries.

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