Introducing and applying a new Australian alcohol advertising code
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This article introduces the new Australian Alcohol Advertising Review Board (AARB) Code and assesses television advertising practices against its advertising content provisions. The Code is administered by independent experts to provide an alternative to the industry-led Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme that has attracted substantial criticism. The new Code aims to balance the alcohol industry's right to promote a legal product against critical protections for young people and public health. To assess whether the new Code will require substantial changes to alcohol advertising practices, a content analysis was conducted of alcohol advertisements aired prior to its introduction on all four free-to-air commercial television channels over two months. A majority of the analysed advertisements (48 of 64) contained at least one element that could be construed as a breach of the AARB Code. The largest numbers of potential breaches were for the provisions relating to the association of alcohol with success and using appeals that are likely to be attractive to young people. The results demonstrate that the Australian alcohol industry will need to reassess current advertising practices to achieve compliance with the new Code.
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