New Zealand Law Society - Alcohol advertising could have appealed to children

Alcohol advertising could have appealed to children

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The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) says an ad featuring Santa Claus and confectionery could have attracted the attention of minors.

In its decision, the ASA says that, prior to Christmas last year, Glengarry Wines sent both addressed and unaddressed newsletters containing wine promotions. The front cover had a stylised cartoon drawing of Santa Claus, a dog and a Christmas tree with a wine bottle and glasses. The back page featured a selection of pink bottles of alcohol featured alongside pink iced donuts and bright coloured biscuits.

The complainant was concerned the unaddressed advertisement had direct appeal to children and alcohol should not be marketed in that way.

“This brochure looks to be a children’s advertisement and alcohol should not be marketed to children. My children got this out of the mailbox and looked through it because of the cover. Urgent action should be taken to stop this distribution,” they wrote.

The advertiser said the unaddressed advertisement had been sent to selected neighbourhoods that matched the target demographic for fine wines. It said the advertisement was prepared and intended for an adult audience. The stylised graphic of Santa was done in a humorous, mature way as a festive cover, not to attract minors.

The ASA’s complaints board did not consider minors would be interested in the inside pages of the newsletter. However, it says, the front and back covers were likely to be visually attractive to minors given the context of Christmas and the bright cartoon representation of Santa. The board ruled the combination of the appeal of the cover of the advertisement and the unrestricted access to a wide audience via unaddressed mail delivery was a breach of the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol and the complaint was therefore upheld.