Government Agency wants Crackdown on Alcohol Advertising
Alcohol abuse has become a major problem for the hospitality industry but now it appears it may also be affecting the alcohol industry whose advertising may soon face stricter regulation if a key government agency gets its way.
The Australian National Preventative Health Agency, the country’s preventative health watchdog has called for a crackdown on alcohol advertising in sport and on television, cinemas and billboards. The group claims that advertising is contributing to the problematic binge drinking culture prevalent among teenage drinkers.
In a major report submitted to the government, the agency recommended amendments that would close the loophole that allows alcohol advertising to be broadcast during live sporting events that are aired before 8:30pm because children are being exposed to these messages.
The agency has urged the government to implement harsh financial penalties for breaches of the rules. The group has called for the banning of alcohol advertising on pay TV as well as cinemas and billboard advertising within 500m of a school.
At the moment television ads after 8:30pm are banned however there is a loophole which allows alcohol advertisements to be down during live sporting broadcasts at any time, even at times when children are watching, which is an issue the agency wants amended.
According to the agency the current rules do not protect kids which is why we have so many young children already drinking. In fact according to statistics 31 per cent boys and 14 per cent of girls between the ages of 15 and 17 are already drinking at rates that exceed safe drinking levels for adults.
The following excerpt from an article on News.com.au explains further:
A 2010 Western Australian study found that three quarters of 155 children aged 9-15 years recognised Bundy Bear (associated with Bundaberg Rum) and correctly associated it with the alcoholic product.
It is for this reason the agency wants alcohol ads using cartoons, childhood motifs, characters who appeal to kids and those with names linked to soft drinks and confectionary banned.
The National Health and Medical Research Council says the earlier a young person starts drinking, the greater the chance they will binge drink and become a heavy or problem drinker as an adult.
The agency is concerned that alcohol companies sponsor Australia’s most popular national sporting competitions and events and the estimated alcohol advertising expenditure in Oz for 2007 was $128 million. In fact some major sports receive almost a quarter of their revenue from alcoholic beverage sponsorships and associated income.
One large brewery was reported as stated:
Carlton United Breweries said “ given that alcohol consumption per capita continues to decline and there are fewer underage drinkers it is not clear on what basis ANPHA can argue that advertising and sponsorship is driving consumption”
“Children’s exposure and attitudes to alcohol are more likely to be developed in the home by watching their parents rather than through any advertising,” Jeremy Griffith, Director of Corporate Affairs for the brewer said.