AMA slams alcohol advertising in youth market

The Australian Medical Association (AMA) has lashed out at the current self-regulation of alcohol advertising in the youth market, and called for a parliamentary inquiry into how young people are targeted through social media, online content and event marketing.

The AMA, in tandem with the 70-member National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA) held a summit in Canberra yesterday held a national summit into alcohol marketing to young people, and said urgent changes were required.

“Young people in Australia are regularly exposed to alcohol marketing in the traditional contexts of television, radio, print and billboard media, and also increasingly in new platforms for marketing and promotion through digital technologies and new social media such as Facebook and Twitter,” the AMA said.

The AMA also said “young people routinely encounter alcohol promotion and sponsorship as a feature of music and sporting events where it is presented as a normalised part of being healthy and having fun.”

Industry self-regulation was deeply ineffective and had failed, the AMA said.

It called for a robust regulatory response and government had to step in. The AMA said the terms of reference in a Parliamentary Inquiry should include a “comprehensive analysis of the extent to which children, teenagers and young Australians are exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion, and the modes and contexts in which it occurs.”

The inquiry should also examine digital marketing techniques and social media platforms and the extent to which alcohol brands are using them to promote their brands to the youth market, and sponsorship of youth cultural and music events.

In addition, in disturbing news for alcohol brands, the AMA said the government should use its powers to require leading alcohol companies and their communications agencies to table their annual spending.

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