Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar sponsors are driving kids to drink

The National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) today raised concerns about the prominence of alcohol marketing and sponsorship for this weekend’s Bathurst 1000 V8 Supercar event.

The Bathurst race is a popular annual event for Australian families that attracts big crowds to Bathurst and is broadcast to a huge television audience nationally and internationally.

Professor Mike Daube, NAAA Co-Chair and Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, said the race generates massive exposure of alcohol promotion to young people.

“NAAA urges the organisers of the event to review future sponsorship arrangements to ensure the race projects a safer and more family-friendly image,” Professor Daube said.

“The event has become a strong vehicle for alcohol and alcohol-branded promotional gear,” Professor Daube said.

“Alcohol is being promoted to children in a glorified way – fun, outdoors, sporty.

“There is also the very dangerous association of fast cars and drinking alcohol.  A quarter of fatal car crashes involve a driver with a blood alcohol level over the limit.

“The event includes two Jack Daniels Racing cars, two Jim Beam Racing cars and one Bottle-O Racing Team car.

“And it is especially disturbing that the V8 website promotes Jim Beam Racing clothing in kids’ sizes.”

AMA Vice President, Professor Geoffrey Dobb, said it is time to close the loophole that permits the promotion of alcohol during sporting events on daytime television.

“We saw it last week with the AFL and NRL Grand Finals and we will see it again this weekend with the Bathurst 1000,” Professor Dobb said.

“These are traditional iconic family events on the Australian sporting calendar and alcohol companies are getting easy access to millions of people, including children, to promote and market their products.

“The alcohol industry is being allowed to reach vulnerable young people and send them messages that alcohol is associated with all that is best in sport and that alcohol is closely linked to driving fast cars.

“This alcohol marketing fuels pro-drinking attitudes in children and young people.  It persuades them that alcohol products and brands are attractive, glamorous and risk-free.  It perpetuates the dangerous myth that motor sports and alcohol go together.

“Doctors see the horrific injuries – and deaths – that result from motor accidents involving young drivers speeding while under the influence of alcohol.

“These dangerous messages have to stop.

“There is a loophole in the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice.  It must be closed,” Professor Dobb said.

NAAA is aware that the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) has already had complaints about alcohol sponsorship of motor racing teams.

The AMA last month hosted a National Summit on Alcohol Marketing to Young People.  The Communiqué from the Summit is at http://ama.com.au/media/communique-national-summit-alcohol-marketing-young-people

The AMA also released a report, Alcohol Marketing and Young People: Time for a new policy agenda.

NAAA is a national coalition of health and community organisations from across Australia that was formed with the goal of reducing alcohol-related harm. Currently comprising more than 70 major organisations  with an interest in alcohol and public health, NAAA is a broad-based alliance that pools collective expertise around what needs to be done to address Australia’s drinking problems. NAAA puts forward evidence-based solutions with a strong emphasis on action.