List of shame targets alcohol ads

Advertisements for Budweiser beer on a telephone box outside a school and a range of Jim Beam Racing children's clothing have been included in a list of the nation's most irresponsible alcohol ads.

The ''top 10 shockers'' list was compiled by the Alcohol Advertising Review Board – set up last year by health campaign groups to monitor alcohol advertising.

The board – a joint initiative by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and the Cancer Council Western Australia – received 200 complaints in its first year, more than double the complaints received by the alcohol and advertising industries' voluntary complaints system.

The board's first annual report, launched on Tuesday, revealed it fully upheld 104 of the complaints and partly upheld 32.

Other advertisements to be named and shamed in the list included an advertisement for VB disguised as commentary during a Test cricket match and an image on a Thirsty Camel Facebook page that read: ''I wish I could trade in my heart for another liver. Then I could drink more and care less.''

An in-store promotion offering three five-litre Berri wine casks for $30 and an ad for Skinnygirl Cocktails were also singled out by the AARB for encouraging irresponsible and immoderate drinking.

Fiona Stanley, chairwoman of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board, said the findings were further evidence that the system of self-regulation was a ''failure.''

Alcohol advertising in Australia is self-regulated by the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme, a voluntary scheme administered primarily by alcohol industry and advertising representatives.

''The impact of the creativity shown by the alcohol industry in promoting its products is shocking and concerning,'' Professor Stanley said.

''Our children and young people should not be exposed to so much alcohol promotion both directly and through sports sponsorship and online promotion. It is time for governments to act.''

The Australian Medical Association supported calls for an end to industry self-regulation.

''This report shows that voluntary self-regulation by the alcohol industry has clearly failed,'' said AMA federal executive member Stephen Parnis. ''The time has come for real regulation, established by government and backed by sanctions for serious non-compliance.''

The AARB considers and reviews complaints from the community about alcohol advertising but has no powers to issue fines or force advertisement to be withdrawn.

However, during its first year the board made dozens of requests to advertisers to reconsider the use of ads it had deemed irresponsible.

Top 10 shockers

  • Budweiser advertisement on a public telephone box outside a school.
  • VB and XXXX sponsorship of State of Origin, including logos featured on team jerseys.
  • Carlton Draught and AFL advertisements, including sponsorship on an official AFL tipping competition website and a ''Draught Pick'' iPhone app.
  • Jim Beam Racing Kids Team clothing. Five children's items were available featuring Jim Beam colours and branding, with the words ''Jim Beam'' replaced by ''The Team''.
  • A Woolworths promotion offering three Berri Estates five-litre casks for $30.
  • Packaging for Skinnygirl Cocktails featuring a brand name and image that suggests the product will help make you skinny.
  • A VB advertisement heard during Channel 9 coverage of an international test match where the commentator effectively reads out a VB ad during the game.
  • Thirsty Camel Vic Facebook page uploads images with slogans, including ''I wish I could trade in my heart for another liver. Then I could drink more and care less'', and ''Someone slipped a hangover into my drink last night''.
  • A poster seen on a wall at the University of Western Australia advertised a party sponsored by Jim Bean on Campus and featuring the tagline ''Unleash the beast''.
  • Sponsorship of music festivals by Smirnoff and Carlton Dry.

The story List of shame targets alcohol ads first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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