Alcoholic Beverage Advertising Code Sets Record Number of Complaints in 2021


The Alcoholic Beverage Advertising Code (ABAC) concluded a busy year with record levels of activity in both the ABAC pre-verification service and the ABAC complaints system.

“Strong demand for ABAC’s pre-verification service continues, with a new record level of pre-verification requests received in 2021 (3,336 pre-verification requests) up 38% from last year. last year.”

The VB advertisement was found to have violated the ABAC standard

ABAC President Harry Jenkins AO commented: “We have been delighted to see this upward trend continuing, particularly an increase in the pre-verification of social media campaigns. Due diligence is the easiest and most effective way for marketers to ensure their promotions and packaging are accountable before they hit the market. Due Diligence can be undertaken by Signatories and Non-Signatories and we encourage all alcohol producers, distributors and retailers to use this valuable service.


“2021 also set a new record for complaint and determination levels, with 288 complaints and 153 determinations. It is to the credit of the Chief Arbitrator, the Honorable Professor Lavarch AO and all those who support and participate in the process, that all complaints were investigated promptly,” said Jenkins.

Additionally, the vast majority of violations were quickly corrected, with only one violation last year being referred to the liquor licensing authority for investigation due to non-compliance.

Some of the brands that violated the code include Better Beer, W Seltzer, Hard Fizz, VB, Culture Kick Sour Ale, Gray Goose Vodka, XXXX, 4 Pines and White Claw.

“In 2021, digital marketing was again the top source of complaints reviewed by the panel, by a significant margin. ABAC regulates all social media activity generated by or under the reasonable control of liquor distributors, including user-generated content.It is important that agencies and staff developing social campaigns for alcohol marketers understand and work within ABAC standards, in particular ensuring that content restriction controls available age be applied to all alcohol marketing, which is an area that will be monitored in 2022.”

Jenkins added: “In response to higher levels of complaints, ABAC has increased its training initiatives in 2021. In particular, with the launch in March of an online training course and a series of videos available for free on the ABAC website.

The ABAC Q4 2021 report is available in full here.


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