Welcome to Alcohol Action Station e-newsletter edition #32
Issue no. 32
In this Issue
  • welcome to alcohol action station
  • did you know?
  • new guides to the alcohol industry in australia
  • industry slow on voluntary warning labels
  • what's new on drink tank?
  • alcohol in the Media
  • the facts

Welcome to Alcohol Action Station

First Report of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board Released
Woodstock Bourbon Calendar Babes.
Alcoholic products called “Skinnygirl Cocktails”, “Pom Pom” and “Electric Pink”.
Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s sponsorship of the V8 Supercars.
Smirnoff Vodka sponsorship of Groovin’ the Moo music festival.
Jim Beam on Campus, an alcohol promotion targeting university students.
These are just a few of the alcohol promotions found to breach the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) Code in its first three months of operation. In that time, the AARB received 63 complaints, 44 of which were considered appropriate for review by the AARB Panel. Of these, 25 were upheld, and 17 upheld in part.
The AARB, chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley AC, was established by the McCusker Centre and Cancer Council WA, with the support of a wide range of health and related organisations. The AARB considers and reviews complaints about alcohol advertising. Its Code is based on codes already accepted by the alcohol and advertising industries in Australia or overseas.
In launching the first report AARB Chair Professor Fiona Stanley said, “This shows a deeply disturbing range of alcohol advertising and promotion that simply should not be permitted”.
“In an Olympic week, the Gold medal for tasteless or inappropriate alcohol promotion goes to the Carlton Draught AFL sponsorship. The Silver medal goes to the Jim Beam on Campus promotion which clearly targets young people and is associated with Facebook images that are utterly inappropriate, and the Bronze medal goes to Skinnygirl Cocktails which must be of appeal to young women.”
Cancer Council WA Director of Research and Education Terry Slevin said, “The AARB gives concerned people a chance to challenge the way alcohol is advertised and promoted by holding alcohol companies to their own standards.
Alcohol cannot be treated just like any other product and greater controls are necessary on the way it is promoted and advertised. This cannot be left in the hands of the people who sell it.”
While some parts of the industry have cooperated with the AARB, most major companies have taken the line that they believe the current self-regulatory system to be adequate and appropriate.
Check out to see the first report, all 44 determination reports and for information about how to make a complaint about alcohol advertising that concerns you. For media coverage, see Alcohol in the Media below.
Until next time,
Julia Stafford, McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth
Elecia Wheat, Injury Control Council of WA

did you know?

Most of the alcohol companies operating in Australia are owned by major global corporations based in the US, UK, Europe and Japan.

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New Guides to the Alcohol Industry in Australia

Map of Australia
If you’ve ever been curious to know which alcohol brands belong to what alcohol company and how the different alcohol companies are related to each other, then keep reading...
The McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth has developed a guide to the alcohol industry in Australia and how it fits into the global alcohol industry, and a guide to the major alcohol sales outlets in Australia.
The guide to the alcohol industry in Australia outlines the major alcohol companies and the products they produce, own, distribute or market.
 The information has been collated and summarised from a wide range of sources including alcohol company websites and annual reports. Due to the constantly changing nature of the industry, this document should be taken as a guide only. The information is accurate to the best of our knowledge and we welcome any comments or feedback.
The guides are available to download from the McCusker Centre website

Industry Slow on Voluntary Warning Labels

FARE report coverAn independent audit of the alcohol industry’s DrinkWise warning labels has found that a full year after the voluntary initiative was launched, fewer than one in six (16%) alcohol products carry the consumer information messages.
The audit, conducted by IPSOS Social Research Institute and commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE), also found most DrinkWise messages are largely hidden, with 98% of the messages taking up less than 5% of the label or face of the packaging.
In December 2011, Australian and New Zealand Food and Health Ministers recommended that the alcohol industry would be given two years to voluntarily implement alcohol warning labels, after which time the government would move to mandate pregnancy alcohol warning labels.
Key findings:
  • Of the 250 products audited, fewer than 1 in 6 carried one of the DrinkWise consumer information messages.
  • Most of the DrinkWise (98%) consumer information messages took up less than 5% of the alcohol label or face of the packaging on which they were located (many were closer to 1-2% of the label).
  • Of all the products with a DrinkWise consumer information message, close to three in five (59%) were located on the back of the product.
  • Based on the products audited, 30% of beer/cider products, 10% of wine and 6% of spirit/RTD products carried DrinkWise consumer information messages.
What you can do:
  1. Sign the petition organised by FARE to show the Federal Government that you support mandatory, independently regulated alcohol labels. On 1 September, the petition will be sent to the Hon Catherine King MP, Chair of the Legislative and Governance Forum on Food Regulation.
  2. Like the campaign on Facebook and Tweet about the campaign to your followers.
Want to know more about alcohol warning labelling?
Download the full audit report from the FARE website.
Download FARE’s policy position paper on alcohol warning labelling.[PDF 3.2MB]

What's New on Drink Tank?

Drink Tank imageDrink Tank is an online space that’s all about discussing and debating alcohol issues.
FARE launched Drink Tank to bring people together from across Australia and the globe, to showcase a wide range of opinions and perspectives about alcohol policy and community concerns.
Check out some of the recent blogs on Drink Tank...
Got an opinion on any of the blogs? Leave a comment!

Alcohol in the Media

Watchdog pans booze ads aimed at youth [PDF 120KB]
The West Australian, 3 August 2012
A watchdog set up by health groups to monitor alcohol advertisements has condemned dozens linking alcohol with football, fast cars and “calendar babes”. The first report of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board, set up in March and chaired by WA child health expert Fiona Stanley, said it had received 63 complaints and upheld 42 wholly or partly.
Advertising watchdog slams alcohol companies
ABC Online, 2 August 2012
Alcohol companies targeting young people through promotions and sport sponsorship, have been slammed in the first report from a new advertising watchdog.
Promised alcohol warning labels barely visible or missing completely
Sydney Morning Herald, 2 August 2012
The alcohol industry's pledge to introduce its own health warnings last year has so far failed to reach more than one in six product labels and most of these messages are vague and barely legible, a national survey has found.
Liquor restrictions proposed for the Pilbara
ABC Online, 1 August 2012
A plan to impose liquor restrictions across the Pilbara has raised the ire of local businesses, supermarket chains and powerful industry groups.
Drink-drive crackdown 'overdue'
The West Australian, 30 July 2012
The Road Safety Council is frustrated at delays to laws targeting repeat drink-drivers though the State Government is about to give police the power to issue immediate two-month bans for blood- alcohol readings of at least 0.08.
'Wide awake drunkenness': The danger of mixing alcohol with energy drinks
Herald Sun, 30 July 2012
Energy drinks amplify alcohol's effects, leading to "wide awake drunkenness" which is potentially fatal. Doctors say young people, particularly, are likely to load up on both booze and caffeine, significantly boosting the risks of violence.
FIFO workers ‘are already’ big drinkers
The Weekend West, 28 July 2012
Fly-in, fly-out workers have significantly higher rates of smoking, risky drinking and obesity compared with other workers, according to a Health Department study.
Study into adolescent drinking receives national funding
ABC Online, 26 July 2012
The Centre for Health Initiatives at Wollongong University has secured $930,000 in funding to investigate ways to reduce alcohol consumption in teenagers.

The Facts

Not all alcohol warning labels are the same. To be effective, alcohol warning labels should be:
  1. Mandatory on all alcohol products and product packaging.
  2. A series of warning messages should be rotated to ensure consumers are exposed to a variety of messages.
  3. The size, font and application of labels should be consistent on all alcohol products – on the front of the product, horizontally oriented and occupy a specific percentage of the container’s surface, with a minimum font size to ensure visibility.   
Source: FARE policy position paper on alcohol product labelling.
Alcohol Action Station aims to provide the WA community with the tools to take action to reduce harms from alcohol among young people. It is provided by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth in association with the Injury Control Council of WA. You are receiving this email because you have subscribed to receive Alcohol Action Station fortnightly e‐newsletters and urgent bulletins.

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