Two Western Australia health groups have filed complaints about a music video for the US band Cobra Starship which shows frequent images of young people in a nightclub drinking the liqueur Midori. Cancer Council Western Australia and the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth both find the video a blatant advertisement for Midori. The self-regulated alcohol marketing watchdog, Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), admits it is powerless to stop an emerging trend of product placement of alcohol in music videos.

The two health organizations who have lodged complaints, say that this situation shows that self-regulation of alcohol advertising does not work. The video clip of the Top 40 song, You Make Me Feel Like, has been viewed more than 22 million times online through YouTube, as well as thousands of times on the video hits website. Furthermore, the music video is shown on popular music television programs, including the Saturday morning children’s viewing timeslot when alcohol advertising is prohibited under a code of practice.

The complaints that were filed were based on the fact that this instance of overt product placement can clearly be seen as advertising, and thus breached the industry’s code of ethics by showing excessive drinking and trying to appeal to very young people.

The ABAC complaints panel dismissed the complaints on the grounds that the clip did not constitute an advertisement. The distributor of Midori told the panel it had no control over the use of their product, but refused to answer a question about commercial arrangements with the video producers.

Source: The West Australian 11/14/11

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