Ahead of the first Ashes Test in Brisbane on Thursday, new polling has found more than four out of five Australians believe that the alcohol industry should not be allowed to advertise alcoholic beverages to children during children’s television viewing times.
A majority of Australians also object to children being exposed to alcohol advertising as a result of Cricket Australia’s new commercial sponsorship agreement with XXXX Gold.
Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) Chief Executive Michael Thorn says the latest polling once again highlights the fatal flaw in the current regulation of alcohol advertising on television.
“81 per cent of Australians, an overwhelming majority, say there should be no alcohol advertising during children’s viewing hours. And indeed, that thinking is in line with the principled and intelligent regulation that says you can’t advertise alcohol on TV before 8:30pm when children would be watching. The big problem of course is that protection has been long since abandoned by the egregious exemption that allows alcohol advertising to be broadcast at any hour of the day during sports broadcasts on weekends and public holidays,” Mr Thorn said.
Commissioned by FARE, on behalf of the Booze Free Sport campaign, the polling was conducted by Galaxy Research in October 2017.
Overwhelming evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with young people drinking more and from an earlier age.
Booze Free Sport a campaign calling for the removal of alcohol sponsorship from professional sport, aims to raise awareness of that evidence and to galvanise the already strong levels of community support for the issue
A changing of the guard in March this year means Cricket Australia’s summer of cricket brings with it a new beer sponsor, with its partner of twenty years, Carlton United Breweries VB, replaced with Lion’s XXXX Gold.
But Australian’s aren’t happy with Cricket Australia’s newest sponsor, with the Galaxy Poll finding a majority of Australians (57 per cent) are concerned that their children are being exposed to brewer, Lion’s XXXX Gold alcohol advertising. Mr Thorn says Australians are right to be concerned.
“The onslaught of XXXX cricket advertising and promotion has begun well before the first ball has been bowled. Cricket Australia’s new deal with Lion, means this summer, Aussie kids will continue to be hit with a barrage of alcohol advertising and promotion, deliberately designed to appeal to children, Mr Thorn said.
Lion’s XXXX Gold Goldie promotion, a tech-enabled cricket cap being given away this Summer with specially marked packs of XXXX Gold from participating venues is, ostensibly, aimed at adults, with Lion pointing to its age-gated website and competition eligibility, with prizes only open to people aged 18 plus.
However, Michael Thorn says it is undeniable that the promotion and the XXXX merchandise will appeal to children.
“This XXXX promotion couldn’t be more appealing to kids if it tried. With the tech-enabled Australia Gold cricket cap, a sporting hero, Australian Test cricketer Adam Gilchrist to idolise and free cricket merchandise to win, this promotion checks all the boxes, and that’s what makes it so dangerous,” Mr Thorn said.
The Galaxy Research polling also found almost two thirds of Australians (64 per cent) agree that Australia’s political leaders should be doing more to address the issue of alcohol sponsorship in sport.
Michael Thorn says the Commonwealth has both the responsibility and the power to act on this issue, and encourages concerned Australians to lend their support to the Booze Free Sport campaign to ensure the Government hears and heeds the message.
“It’s undeniable that Aussie children are being exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion through sport and that’s a problem because we know that increases the chances of them drinking earlier, and drinking more. Cricket Australia don’t appear willing to sever ties with a toxic product. In the absence of corporate responsibility, the Government should step forward to protect our children,” Mr Thorn said.