A pub with no beer

Published 06 January 2010

By Gary Rice, Beauchamps Solicitors

A report from the National Preventative Health Task Force in Australia has recommended legislation banning alcohol advertising on television at times when people under 25 are likely to be watching, including during sports coverage. The task force is committed to reducing obesity, smoking and excessive alcohol consumption. However, national governing bodies in Australia such as Cricket Australia, the Australian Football League, the National Rugby League and the Australian Rugby Union have come out against the ban saying that they promote responsible drinking. The Australian governing bodies stand to lose up to AUS$300 million in sponsorship. Meanwhile, the Australian fast food industry has collaborated with the Australian Association of National Advertisers to produce a voluntary code to govern the way it markets products to children.

It’s a bigger mouthful than most of their burgers – “The Australian Quick Service Restaurant Industry Initiative for Responsible Advertising and Marketing to Children”. The ‘Quick Service Restaurant Industry’ must ensure its advertising to under 14s offers healthy choices. There are also restrictions on product placement in TV programmes or in any other medium which is aimed at kids and in relation to “premium offers” such as reduced price deals and special offers.

A new report in the UK has called for a total ban on alcohol advertising, including sports sponsorship. The report is entitled ‘Under the Influence’ and has been published by the British Medical Association. The report also recommends higher taxes on alcohol, a reduction in licensing hours and the end of 2-for-1 promotions. Again, sponsorship agencies, drink companies and advertising groups have defended the role of alcohol advertising and sponsorship saying that removing alcohol brands from sport isn’t going to address binge drinking. The report points out that the drinks industry is the second largest sponsor of sporting and cultural events behind the financial services sector. Sponsors have sought to defend alcohol sponsorship by saying that the sponsorship money invested in sport trickles down to the grass roots and to amateur participation. Like Ireland, the UK has advertising codes which, although not legally binding, are enforced by the Advertising Standards Authority. As most readers will be aware, France currently has the strictest legislation on alcohol promotion, the Loi Evin. However, a new French law updating the advertising rules on alcohol has finally allowed limited alcohol advertising on the internet (with some exceptions).

Article obtained from www.beauchamps.ie, the website of Beauchamps Solicitors. Article reproduced with their kind permission.

For more information, contact Gary Rice

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