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Alcohol brands using non-alcoholic products to target kids and adolescents

October 20, 2021

Cancer Council is calling on the Australian Government to hold the alcohol industry to a higher standard in their marketing, following several dismissed complaints about alcohol companies’ use of non-alcoholic products to promote their brands.

In a discussion piece published in the Medical Journal of Australia, co-author and Chair of Cancer Council’s Alcohol Working Group, Julia Stafford, said greater scrutiny was needed of alcohol companies’ use of brand extensions.

“The extension of alcohol brands to non-alcoholic products is becoming a more common marketing strategy for some alcohol companies,” Ms Stafford said.

“We’ve seen recent examples of a rum-branded iced coffee, a beer-branded fragrance promoted as a gift for Father’s Day, alcohol-branded chocolates and sauces, and zero-alcohol beverages being sold at children’s eye level in supermarkets.

“Extending well known alcohol brands to non-alcohol products provides companies with the opportunity to expose new audiences to their brands including children and adolescents who could potentially develop connections with the brands.”

In 2019 and 2020, the industry-run Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme reviewed nine complaints about brand extensions and dismissed seven of them, even though a common theme raised by complainants was concerns about children and young people’s exposure.

“The inadequate controls on brand extensions are consistent with reviews that have concluded that the ABAC Scheme does little to protect young people from exposure to alcohol marketing,” she said.

“We call on the Australian Government to introduce comprehensive, independent controls on alcohol marketing, which include restrictions on alcohol companies using brand extensions to market their products.”

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Please contact Leah Eastment in the Cancer Council Australia media team on (02) 8256 4109 or email [email protected]
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