New research has found that rulings under the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code over the past three years are in-line with community standards.

Colmar Brunton Social Research has updated research undertaken in 2013, conducting a series of six focus groups and surveying 1,225 people to assess alcohol marketing considered by the ABAC Complaints Panel.

Of the 12 advertisements tested, seven complaints had been upheld by ABAC and five had been dismissed. Just one of the 12 advertisements was considered unacceptable by the majority of community respondents.

“This confirms the high standards the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code sets for alcohol marketing in Australia,” ABAC chair, the Hon Alan Ferguson, said.

“In fact, the results indicate that ABAC rulings are more conservative and, therefore, ahead of community standards, which is about where you would expect the regulator to be positioned.

“The findings were remarkably consistent across respondents, whether being asked to assess the ads based on no knowledge of the code and then reassess once the code requirements had been explained to them.

“ABAC is committed to maintaining the high standards set by the code for alcohol marketing in Australia”.

Not surprisingly, unprompted knowledge of alcohol advertising regulation was low across all groups (4%), but once prompted a majority (65%) were aware that they could complain to the Advertising Standards Bureau.

A majority of the respondents had no concern or offence about advertising standards in general (64%) and were not particularly concerned about the content of alcohol advertising in Australia (62%).

ABAC uses the research to assist in its periodic reviews and ongoing evaluation of the code’s standards and effectiveness.