Marketing and Promotion of Alcohol – Position Statement

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Key Messages:

Cancer Council supports measures that effectively regulate alcohol advertising and promotion. Improved regulation of alcohol advertising is an important component of an overall and comprehensive strategy aimed at dealing with and minimising alcohol-related harm in Australia, particularly relating to young people.

Cancer Council recommends a comprehensive legislative framework for regulating alcohol advertising in Australia that:

  • Covers all forms of alcohol marketing;
  • Establishes clear public policy goals for the regulation of advertising, such as protecting vulnerable groups like children and young people;
  • Creates an independent regulatory body for administering the system with the powers to formally investigate and penalise breaches of the alcohol advertising rules; and
  • Introduces meaningful sanctions for serious or persistent non-compliance by advertisers.

Cancer Council recommends introducing legislation to prohibit alcohol advertising that:

  • Appeals to people under the age of 25. The age of 25 years is consistent with recommendations made by the National Preventative Heath Taskforce. Cancer Council defines advertising that appeals to people under the age of 25 as advertising that a reasonable person would consider appealing to people under the age of 25; or
  • Is connected with content that appeals to people under the age of 25 (as recommended by the National Preventive Health Taskforce[1]). Cancer Council defines content that appeals to under 25s as content for which 10% or more of the audience is under the age of 25.

Legislation should provide for the phased introduction of restrictions upon alcohol advertising that either appeals, or is connected with content that appeals, to people under 25 in all media. ‘All media‘ includes but is not limited to broadcast and print media, billboards, public transport advertising, cinema and internet.

As a first step, Cancer Council recommends removing the exception in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice that permits broadcasting alcohol advertisements during daytime live sporting broadcasts on weekends and public holidays.

Cancer Council recommends introducing legislation to restrict the sponsorship of sporting and cultural events, organisations or participants (such as sports teams or athletes), by alcohol companies, where:

  • 10% or more of the attendees at the event are under the age of 25; or
  • A reasonable person would consider that an event appeals to people aged under 25.

Legislation that restricts sponsorship of events, organisations or participants by alcohol companies should take an incremental approach, permitting existing sponsorship agreements to run their course and allowing sufficient time for event organisers and sporting teams to seek alternative sources of sponsorship.

Cancer Council recommends ongoing research on the impact and effect of alcohol marketing on young people in Australia, particularly alcohol sponsorship of music and cultural events, point of sale marketing and emerging online and social networking trends in alcohol advertising. Cancer Council also recommends that changes to alcohol advertising regulation are accompanied by research into the effects of regulatory changes and restrictions.

See the full position statement:
Marketing and Promotion of Alcohol Position Statement

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