Alcohol marketing and promotion contributes to young peoples’ attitudes to drinking, starting drinking and drinking at harmful levels. Much of this marketing has the effect of reinforcing the harmful drinking culture in Australia. We urgently need comprehensive reform of the alcohol advertising regulatory arrangements. The National Preventative Health Taskforce recently recommended that in a staged approach, alcohol promotions should be phased out from times and placements which have high exposure to young people aged up to 25 years.
NAAA recommends the establishment of a comprehensive framework that will:
- ensure effective regulation of advertising and promotions for alcohol, including a special focus on minimising the exposure of children and young people to alcohol marketing and promotions
- include the phasing out of alcohol sponsorship of music events to which children and young people may be exposed, and the prohibition of alcohol sponsorship of junior sports teams, clubs or programs
- cover all forms of alcohol marketing and promotions, including point-of-sale promotions, print and media advertising, packaging, labelling, sponsorship, viral and internet campaigns
- ensure that standards in relation to advertising, promotion and labelling are stringently applied with penalties for significant breaches
- ensure that the standards are monitored by an independent panel with membership including expertise in public health and health marketing
- require alcohol companies to disclose their annual advertising and sponsorship expenditure.
As a first step, the current exemption permitting alcohol advertising during live sporting broadcasts before 8:30 pm on commercial free-to-air television should be removed as a way of reducing children’s exposure to alcohol marketing and promotions.
There is also a need for ongoing monitoring and evaluation of the impact of alcohol marketing and promotions in Australia, particularly on young people. This should also focus on identifying and analysing new and emerging marketing and promotion trends and initiatives and recommending how laws and regulations should respond.