The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) has released its latest quarterly report and shows there has seen a slight increase in complaints and determinations compared with the first two quarters this year.

Social media and the use of nostalgic imagery are two areas that ABAC Chair Harry Jenkins highlighted as areas where alcohol marketers need to be careful.

“The determinations made this quarter by the ABAC Adjudication Panel highlight some important areas  where care is needed when developing alcohol marketing,” Jenkins said.

“Some companies like to include in their marketing, imagery that is nostalgic for adults as it reminds them of their youth.  However, if the appeal of a nostalgic reference or imagery is enduring in its popularity for the current generation of minors it is likely to breach Code standards as occurred when figures from the ‘Little Miss’ children’s book series were used in a social media post.

“The Panel also considered the use of the trending ‘wave’ filter on an Instagram post this quarter and found that the combination of the filter effects and the caption encouraged excessive consumption or alternatively, treated it as amusing, which breaches Code standards.  It is important to remember that humour won’t save a marketing communication that fails to meet Code standards.”

Jenkins added: “Another useful reminder arising from Panel decisions, is that where a product packaging or a marketing campaign promotes a positive community benefit, Code standards for responsible marketing cannot be ‘traded off’ against another desirable outcome.

“That is, the ABAC does not envisage a marketing communication that is inconsistent with a Code standard will be allowed if the marketing communication serves some other worthwhile purpose.”

ABAC also offers a pre-vetting service which enables alcohol marketers to get an independent check of their marketing and make sure it is meeting responsible alcohol marketing standards.

Jenkins said it’s an important statistic each quarter to see the extent to which alcohol marketers are using this service.

He said: “It is positive to see demand continue to increase substantially each year, with almost 1,000 requests received in the last quarter.  This increase in demand has resulted in a new pre-vetting lodgment system that was launched earlier this year. 

“The new system enables companies to now lodge revised material or concepts for an existing application direct through the database, rather than via email.  We encourage companies to lodge material direct as this is the fastest and most efficient way to have revised material pre-vetted. More information about using the pre-vetting service is available here.

“Finally, ABAC has received very positive feedback on its new compliance checklists now available on our website. We encourage all alcohol marketers to make use of this free resource, available here.”

ABAC’s Second Quarterly Report for 2022 detailing decisions made during the past quarter is available online.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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