GrogWatch - Alcohol advertising in sport

Alcohol in wonderland

Have you wondered why you see so much alcohol advertising on daytime sport when daytime TV advertising of alcohol is banned? Yes, the Commercial TV Code of Practice states alcohol advertisements can only be shown at night, between 8.30pm and 5.00am.

Alcohol advertising isn’t allowed during daytime TV because that is ‘children’s viewing time.’ Everyone agrees it is unethical to advertise alcohol to children. Even the alcohol industry’s own advertising code says alcohol cannot be marketed to children.

But, in the wonderland reasoning of the TV Code of Practice, there is an exemption for alcohol advertising before 8:30pm on weekends, and public holidays, when it ‘accompanies’ live sporting events. This allows alcohol advertising during football matches, tennis and golf championships, motor car racing, horse racing, and the like.

The result is a bombardment of alcohol advertising during Australia’s favourite sports events which appeal to children and young people as much as adults. The exemption for sports broadcast allows alcohol brands to evade controls that are designed to protect young people from alcohol marketing.

To understand the long term effect of advertising on young people, we only have to recall Hankook Tyres’ justification for sponsoring an AFL team: “The Melbourne Football Club sponsorship gives us a great avenue to get our brand name to kids”. This was discussed in a DrugInfo newsletter.

Just how much exposure can occur via sports broadcasts has been quantified in a new study. A research team at Wollongong University measured on screen alcohol marketing during the NRL Grand Final series and the AFL final series. This study found that alcohol marketing was visible on screen for 18% of the broadcast of the NRL Grand Final and for 20 minutes during AFL semi-finals. Only 5% of the marketing was done via formal commercials for booze while 95% was transmitted via less obtrusive forms of stadium signage, pop-ups, live announcements, electronic banners and logos on players’ uniforms.

So, in order to protect children from alcohol advertising the TV Code of Practice ordains alcohol advertising during the exciting live events that feature children’s sporting role models.

If you were an alcohol marketer you would have to think that is truly a wonderland.

Post a comment below to let other parents know your thoughts about alcohol brands targeting your children through daytime TV.