The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) has released its third quarterly report for 2020, which revealed high levels of activity over the period, with 53 new complaints and 23 determinations.

ABAC chair Harry Jenkins said ABAC has seen a higher number of breaches over the past 12 months, with the most notable increases relating to packaging and social marketing.

“Over the past 12 months, the panel found 15 alcohol labels in breach of ABAC standards, up from four in the previous 12 months, with most of the breaches relating to the prohibition on alcohol packaging having strong or evident appeal to under 18s,” Jenkins said.

“The past quarter has seen this to be the most common standard breached across marketing types, attributable to 5 breaches of product packaging.”

Jenkins said in light of this trend, ABAC engaged Youth Insight to provide observations on the themes, designs, and imagery that 14 to 17-year-olds find appealing and unappealing in product marketing. He said the work would assist ABAC panellists and pre-vetters in assessing alcohol marketing communications against ABAC standards. The work has also been used to update the ABAC Guidance Notes and Alcohol Packaging Compliance Guide, which helps alcohol marketers meet the standards.

“ABAC strongly encourages all alcohol companies, their marketing staff, agencies and designers to proactively take measures to achieve compliance with responsible alcohol marketing standards, with particular attention to packaging and social marketing,” Jenkins said.

“The ABAC website includes a variety of resources to help alcohol marketers understand what they can and can’t do when marketing alcohol (Guidance Notes/Alcohol Packaging Compliance Guide/Best Practice Guide for Digital Alcohol Marketing); and ABAC’s free annual industry webinar (coming up in November) is compulsory viewing for anyone involved in alcohol marketing in Australia.

“In addition, ABAC’s pre-vetting service remains the easiest and most efficient way for marketers to ensure their promotions and packaging are responsible before hitting the marketplace. Pre-vetting may be undertaken by both signatories and non-signatories and we encourage all alcohol producers, distributors and retailers to utilise this valuable service.”

ABAC’s Third Quarterly Report for 2020 detailing decisions made during the past quarter is available online. More information about the Code is also available at:

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