CUB refuses to adhere to alcohol review board

By Alexandra Roach | 3 August 2012

Following the release of the first batch of Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) determinations yesterday, Carlton & United Breweries (CUB) has slammed it as a “lobby driving an agenda” and said it will not adhere to any rulings.

CUB has lambasted the recently-formed AARB for judging ads “against [its] own code” that is separate and apart from “the well-respected Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) system”.

The brewer has requested the AARB submit any CUB ads it has fielded complaints to the ABAC “for a proper review”.

“Less than 4% of complaints received by the ASB each year relate to alcohol advertising,” said CUB director of corporate affairs Jeremy Griffith. “The health lobby is driving an agenda to ban alcohol advertising and sports sponsorship, in addition to increasing prices, raising the drinking age to 21, reducing pubs and bottle shops and banning promotions.”

One set of complaints fiedled by the AARB related to CUB's boundary-fence ads at a Western Australian stadium that hosted a Fremantle Dockers vs Brisbane Lions game in April. Complainants stated CUB's sports sponsorships violated the AARB code as such advertising “associates alcohol with sport and sporting success” and is placed where it would appeal to young people.

The complaints were upheld in part and the AARB requested CUB take down the stadium-side ads and “reconsider their sponsorship of AFL due to its appeal to young people”.
CUB has declined to do so.

“The health lobby has failed to recognise that the current review process for alcohol advertising is rigorous and effective and meets with community standards,” said Griffith. “It is important to note that alcohol consumption in Australia on a per capita basis continues to trend downwards and the majority of Australians enjoy beer in moderation and responsibly.”

Some CUB ads reviewed by the AARB have previously been reviewed by the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB), including the infamous 'Fat Yak' billboard which features a yak with its genitalia blurred out.

While the ASB fielded and dismissed complaints that the animal in question was being presented an inappropriately sexual manner, the AARB received complaints a Fat Yak billboard was near a school, “a location likely to have high exposure to children and young people”.

The AARB upheld the complaint, and requested CUB take the billboard down. CUB, which told AdNews it had made “a national booking” for the billboards, has declined to do so.

Griffith said: “We will continue to work with governments and other groups to ensure that our marketing, products and promotions meet with community standards, and to encourage responsible consumption of our products.”

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