The misuse of social media influencers by beer manufacturers was a prominent issue in the latest quarterly report from the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC).

According to ABAC’s fourth quarterly report for 2018, out of six breaches of the Code, three related to marketers (XXXX summer Bright Lager, Wilde Beer and Furphy Beer) failing to check that the social media influencers promoting their products were over the age of 25.

“This age requirement is important in ensuring that under 18s are less likely to relate to the actors/influencers used to market an alcohol product,” the independent chair of ABAC Harry Jenkins said.

“The use of social media influencers has been a challenge for the industry and for ABAC, primarily due to difficulty obtaining information about available age restriction controls from platforms, such as Instagram.

“When using any digital platform it is the marketers responsibility to ask the platform to identify all age restriction controls that are available for their marketing and apply those controls and to also continue to ask these questions for all new campaigns as social media platforms develop at a rapid rate and the availability of controls will change from time to time.”

Other breaches over the quarter included:

  • a wine label with an image of a violent attack on a woman on Leon B Cabernet Sauvignon (pictured);
  • two social media posts that encouraged excessive consumption and the choice of an alcohol beverage on the basis of its strength and intoxicating effect from Premix King; and
  • placement of an alcohol advertisement for Johnnie Walker on digital television on the 9Now digital app where it appeared with a broadcast of the Adelaide Christmas Pageant which is primarily aimed at children.

“In none of the content breaches outlined this quarter or in fact over the past two years had the marketing or packaging been pre-vetted under ABAC,” Jenkins says.

“With a record 1751 pre-vetting requests in 2018, the Alcohol Advertising Pre-vetting Service continues to be an important aspect of ABAC’s work and an effective means of preventing irresponsible alcohol marketing reaching the community.”

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