I received a press release from the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation a short time ago, and they seem to be a tad over-excited:
The Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation (AER) today welcomed the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia’s (DSICA) announcement they will place a moratorium on TV advertising of alcohol brands represented by the Spirits Council before 9pm for a period of twelve months, with its effects to be assessed.
AER Chairman Scott Wilson said the move is an encouraging step towards the more responsible alcohol marketing and advertising code called for by Senator Steven Fielding, AER and many public health organisations.
On the face of it, this sounds like a very big story. No alcohol advertising before 9pm is a big step, but the more you read, the less the story seems even remotely interesting. Two paragraphs later Mr. Wilson had this to say:
“This proactive announcement by DSICA covers a handful of alcohol brands that pay significant amounts to promote their products to sporting enthusiasts, young and old. It is important to ensure that alcohol brands across the board adopt a more responsible advertising code, and we believe all alcohol promotion, advertising and sponsorship of sport at all levels should be Government regulated.”
What Mr. Wilson means by “a handful” is “nine”. Yes, that’s right, nine alcohol companies. According to the Distilled Spirits Industry Council of Australia website, these nine companies are :
- Bacardi Lion Pty Ltd
- Jim Beam Brands Australia Pty Ltd
- Brown-Forman Australia
- Bundaberg Distilling Company
- Diageo Australia Limited
- Maxxium Australia Pty Ltd
- Moet Hennessy Australia Pty Ltd
- Suntory (Aust) Pty Ltd
- William Grant & Sons International Ltd
I can think of a few companies which aren’t on that list, and are therefore not affected by the moratorium. Mr. Wilson went on to say in a side-splitting manner:
“Without this regulation in place, we risk giving other alcohol brands an opportunity to take centre stage – and the game, the players and the audience will suffer the hangover.”
Mr. Wilson is right. Other alcohol companies will take over the vacated advertising spots.
The only thing being achieved by this moratorium is a decrease in the brand-awareness of the nine listed companies, which is only likely to damage those companies in favour of the unlisted companies. It won’t reduce alcohol sales, but it might send the nine companies to the wall, which would give the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation a chance to gloat in their supposed success…after all, the companies must be selling less if they collapse, right?