Three ads by alcohol brands which were considered by the ABAC (Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code) panel, were dismissed, including a complaint related to the alcoholic Carlton Zero beer that highlighted the issues inherent in no-alcohol brand extensions.

Carlton & United Breweries’ non-alcoholic beer offering, Carlton Zero, depicts a number of activities which drinkers of the non-alcoholic beer can undertake, which would be denied to someone drinking alcohol.

The code stipulates that alcohol brand extensions to non-alcohol beverage products under the 0.5% abv mark remain under the jurisdiction of ABAC. In addition, it says that marketing communications are not permitted to show the consumption of an alcoholic beverage before or during any activity that requires a high degree of alertness, such as those shown in the Carlton Zero advert such as swimming, operating heavy machinery and driving.

Carlton & United Breweries replied by showing disagreement towards ABAC claiming that Carlton Zero is for no reason advertised “as a way to drink beer” while undertaking potentially high-risk activities and that “it would be a mildly perverse outcome to conclude that an ad which seeks to promote a non-alcoholic beverage as an alternative to an alcoholic beverage was struck down for promoting the irresponsible use of alcohol”

The ABAC panel admitted that the application of the code’s standards to the marketing of brand extensions is ‘clunky’ as the standards were designed for alcoholic beverages and “sit awkwardly’ when applied to non-alcoholic beverages.

A complaint was also made towards the brand Corona, for an outdoor billboard advertisement featuring a group of young people holding a guitar and Corona Beer.

The complainant argued that drinking alcohol on a beach, as depicted in the advert, is illegal in Western Australia, and therefore the ad should be pulled.

The company behind Corona, Asahi Beverages was surprised given that all individuals in the advertisement are clothed, and this indicates they will not be going swimming, according to the company.

In the end, the panel dismissed the complaint since the ad depicts a scene showing adults quietly drinking a moderate amount of alcohol, and that a reasonable person would not interpret the ad as suggesting illegal behaviour.

The latest complain was towards Lion-owned XXX ads presented at the Sydney Cricket Ground during the One Day International test between Australia and India. The ads picture a static advert on the scoreboard using full and empty pints of XXXX beer to denote umpire decisions of ‘out’ and ‘not out’.

The complainants objected to the advert, saying that there are hundreds of children watching cricket and it is “disturbing” to see the normalisation of beer drinking.

The panel asserted that ABAC does not cover or judge on sponsorship deals, but that it does cover placement rules, and that marketing communications must not show or encourage the excessive consumption of alcohol, or have evident appeal to minors. An ABAC panel declared that it did not believe that the brand activation breaches its standards as it is not likely that minors would be “engaged” by the advertisements or their graphics.

The complaints were dismissed.


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