Richard Magnusson’s 3-year old daughter was watching an episode of Dora the Explorer on YouTube mid-evening on Tuesday when a Bundaberg Rum advertisement ran. By chance, the ad got in front of the eyes of a community panel member of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board and a professor of health law and governance at the University of Sydney Law School. Understandably outraged by what he saw, Magnusson posted a blog, calling attention to the issue of alcohol advertising in Australia, particularly with regard to children’s content.
This story exemplifies Australia’s lax liquor advertising rules and poor enforcement. Was this simply an oversight? Was this a pirated version of the show and therefore wasn’t recognized as children’s content? Was the ad a result of Magnusson’s search history (have you ever Google researched, say, flights to Europe, signed onto Facebook and a bunch of ads for cheap flights to Europe flooded your page?)? Regardless, this story is a great example of why it’s time for an independent regulator of alcohol marketing with teeth.