Alcohol ads are policed well: claim
An independent panel of six communications and marketing experts — recruited by the researchers for their knowledge of public attitudes — were also used to assess the 14 complaints. In eight of the 14 cases, a majority of the panel agreed multiple breaches of the advertising codes had been made.
The panel unanimously agreed the rules had been broken in two of the advertisements complained about. In one of the advertisements, a woman leans against a Mercedes, while the male driver activates the aerial, raising and then undoing her dress, revealing a bikini underneath. She then climbs onto the bonnet to drink a bottle of Boag’s beer.
In a magazine advertisement (not one of the two unanimously considered in breach by the study panel), a man stands against a wall while a woman stands in front of him holding a shot glass of brandy. The tag line on the advertisement says Interested? Give it your best shot’’.
However, in the official adjudication by the ABS and ABAC panel, only one of the complaints was upheld — and even then, by only one of the two assessment bodies.
The authors of the paper, Sandra Jones and colleagues from the University of Wollongong and the Australian Drug Foundation, said the results suggested the ASB may not be performing an adequate job of representing community standards, or protecting the community from offensive or inappropriate advertisements’’.
The ASB’s Ms Jolly said its own research, conducted by Colmar Brunton Social Research last year, involved 12 focus groups across four states and territories, four online focus groups, and a national online survey of 1263 people.
The ASB’s summary of the findings said the research showed that Board decisions generally reflect community standards on the key provisions... including portrayal of violence, use of language and health and safety.
However, there were two sections of the Code on which the Board and community opinion differed. The Board is out of step with the community who are more broadminded about politically incorrect statements when used with humour.
The research also suggests that when compared to the Board the community is more conservative in their attitude toward sex, sexuality and nudity.’’
Ms Jolly said the Board had already begun to take a harder line in its judgments in the light of this finding — and conceded it was possible that a different decision might be taken on the Boag’s advertisement were the complaint to be heard now. However, she denied that this was a tacit admission that Professor Jones’s research had been correct in finding the decisions of the watchdog too lax.
The difference they (Colmar Brunton) did show wasn’t a yawning gap, and as of now the community’s views are being taken into account by the board,’’ Ms Jolly said.
This was demonstrated yesterday, when the board reviewed an advertisement that raised issues of sexuality and sex. The board would have previously let the ad go, but we now have this research... the ad will be taken off the air.’’
Ms Jolly said the existing regulation system was in line with the world’s best’’ and did not need changing.
Standards drinks: Community concerns about alcohol advertising are being addressed, say policing organisations