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Reducing predatory alcohol marketing

Why is this important?

Alcohol marketing is largely unregulated in Australia.

It is well established that marketing influences our preferences, attitudes, social norms and use of alcohol products, which subsequently impacts our health. Marketing also encourages us to use these products at earlier ages, which leads to higher and more frequent patterns and levels of use.

While alcohol marketing can impact anyone in the community, research shows that some Australians are particularly impacted by alcohol advertising and alcohol harm, including people with alcohol dependency as well as children and young people. Studies have also found that alcohol companies target these groups to promote alcohol.

Alcohol is promoted in many spaces, including on public transport, billboards, television and during sports. In recent years, alcohol marketing has also increasingly taken the form of digital marketing in online spaces.

Alcohol companies collect extensive information about the community for digital marketing. Alcohol companies use this information to develop intimate insights into our lives, targeting alcohol advertisements in any location at any time, often directly through our personal device.

It is the pervasive, personal and highly targeted nature that makes digital marketing by alcohol companies particularly harmful to our health.

What do we want?

FARE wants a comprehensive framework for the regulation of alcohol marketing to be developed and implemented, which will:

  • Ensure effective regulation of advertising and promotions for alcohol
  • Cover all forms of alcohol marketing and promotions, including point-of-sale promotions, print and media advertising, packaging, labelling, sponsorship, and digital marketing
  • Establish standards in relation to advertising, promotion and labelling are stringently applied, with penalties for significant breaches, and monitored by a panel independent from alcohol companies
  • Ensure that children do not see alcohol advertising in their daily lives (e.g., in outdoor spaces, on public transport and other government property, on television including during sport programs, and at sporting or other events)

The story so far

We all agree that children should not be able to see alcohol advertising in their daily lives, on their way to school, on the playground, and on television. Over the past few years, FARE has worked significantly to build awareness around this issue area.

Previously, FARE joined with sporting clubs, health, medical and community organisations to launch End Alcohol Advertising in Sport. We gained extensive media coverage and signed Baseball Australia as the campaign’s first official sporting partner. We convened the In Their Sights: The Dark Arts Of Digital Alcohol Marketing forum at Parliament House. The forum shed light on the covert and pervasive nature of digital marketing used by harmful industries and called for better regulation of digital marketing.

FARE is now focusing on holding alcohol companies accountable for their digital marketing practices. Over the next few years, FARE will develop strategies to start conversations and build an active community of supporters who are passionate about reduce the power of alcohol corporations so that these companies put the lives of all Australians above their profits.

Harmful marketing online

We all have the right to use digital technology safely and be protected from harmful marketing practices. 

But we have limited protections in place to prevent our families and communities, especially young people, from predatory marketing practices in the digital world.

Want to know more about what can do to help protect the health and wellbeing of our community?

How can I help?

Are you or your organisation interested in this issue and happy to advocate for reform with decision-makers? Send an email to FARE’s Policy and Research Team at info@fare.org.au.

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