Alcohol Review Board: First Report

Information on the Alcohol Advertising Review Board, the full first report and the determinations can be found at





Advertisements linking alcohol with AFL, NRL and fast cars, products likely to appeal to young women, the Jim Beam on Campus promotion targeting university students, and a “Woodstock Bourbon Calendar Babes” promotion are among alcohol advertisements criticised and recommended for withdrawal in a report released today.


The first report of the Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) provides the outcomes of the first three months of determinations by the AARB. The AARB, which is chaired by Professor Fiona Stanley AC, was established in March by the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and the 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 its first three months, 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 commends Bacardi Lion for responding by immediately withdrawing advertising close to a children’s playground.


Advertisements judged as contravening the Code included:

  • Advertising for alcoholic products considered to be of likely appeal to young people, with names such as “Pom Pom”, ”Electric Pink” and “Hot Pink”, and “Skinnygirl Cocktails”.
  • Event sponsorship including the Carlton Draught AFL sponsorship (Carlton Draught “Draught Pick” iPhone application, AFL tipping website and stadium promotions); Jim Beam and Jack Daniel’s sponsorship associating alcohol with fast cars; VB sponsorship of Surfing Australia; VB and XXXX beer State of Origin sponsorship (including a poster given to a school student featuring XXXX logos); placement of advertisements for alcohol products near schools; Smirnoff Vodka sponsorship of music festivals (including “Groovin’ the Moo”).
  • Promotion targeted at university students, including Jim Beam on Campus.
  • Advertisements for Jim Beam and Cola during AFL games and the Woodstock Bourbon and Cola “Woodstock Calendar Babes” promotion.


AARB Chair Professor Fiona Stanley said, “This shows a deeply disturbing range of alcohol advertising and promotion that simply should not be permitted”.


“What reason can there be to expose young people and children to the association of alcohol with their sporting heroes or with behaviours such as driving fast cars and surfing, to promote products in ways that must appeal to young people, and to promote alcohol on university campuses?


It cannot be responsible to advertise spirits in association with music festivals attended by young people, or to link alcohol with images of women in lingerie captioned ‘Wood U?’.  It is time to name and shame the companies that advertise alcohol irresponsibly and particularly to challenge them to promote their products in ways that do not appeal to young people”.


“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.”


“We have no power to force the advertisements to be withdrawn, but we appeal to the companies to take seriously the concerns raised in the determinations of independent panels and change their promotional practices”.


Australian Medical Association Federal Vice-President Professor Geoff Dobb said, “The fact that alcohol companies continue to advertise in ways that are targeted to young people clearly shows that the current system of self-regulation does not work. The AMA believes that the alcohol industry has had its chance, it has failed to do the right thing, and now it is time for governments to act by regulating and prohibiting the marketing and promotion of alcohol to young people and teenagers.”


Director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, Professor Mike Daube said, “It is time for alcohol companies to stop targeting younger drinkers. Some of the promotions highlighted in these complaints are outrageous. At a time when there is so much concern about the consequences of alcohol, surely this industry can make a genuine effort to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol promotion.”


Some delays in the release of the first report arose from the need to deal with issues raised by representatives of major alcohol industry organisations. It was also considered appropriate to release the first three months of determinations as a set.  After this report’s release, determinations will be released as they are made.


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.”


Information on the Alcohol Advertising Review Board, the full first report and the determinations can be found at


Complaints about alcohol advertising can be sent to