• Following its controversial launch in August, the packaging design of Hard Solo, the alcoholic version of the softdrink Solo, has been found to breach the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code.
    Following its controversial launch in August, the packaging design of Hard Solo, the alcoholic version of the softdrink Solo, has been found to breach the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code.
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In the wake of major breaches involving alcohol packaging, the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Scheme’s (ABAC) new Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code came into effect on 1 January.

In its 2023 fourth quarter report, there were 53 complaints lodged, 21 determinations made with 12 complaints dismissed, and of the 780 submissions lodged in its pre-vetting system, 81 were rejected.

ABAC said the majority of breaches during the quarter occurred with alcohol packaging. ABAC updated its Packaging Compliance Guide last year. One case that caught the headlines was CUB's Hard Solo, an alcoholic version of the well-known Solo soft drink. Billson's was also found to have breached the code with its packaging looking similar to the colours and product names of soft drinks and confectionery.

The breaches related to soft drink, food, video games, and other themes that were familiar and relatable to minors.

ABAC launched a pre-vetting database in 2022, allowing companies to lodge revised material/concepts for an existing application direct through the database, rather than via email. This is the fastest and most efficient way to have revised material pre-vetted, it said.

It also provided guidance on the need to age restrict Instagram posts promoting alcohol products and to avoid messaging that suggests a product offers health benefits. ABAC has also joined the International Council for Advertising Self-Regulation.

ABAC is encouraging those involved in the marketing of alcohol to complete its free one-hour online training course.

The full report is here.

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