News, Culture & Society

Alcohol advertising slammed for coronavirus marketing as 70 per cent of more Australians drink more

Coronavirus-themed alcohol ad saying ‘a bottle a day keeps iso boredom away’ sparks outrage as the huge spike in booze consumption in lockdown is revealed

  • Alcohol companies are being accused of encouraging more drinking in isolation
  • Figures show that 70 per cent of Australians are drinking more in lockdown
  • But Alcohol Beverages Australia said the figures were taken during panic buying
  • Learn more about how to help people impacted by COVID

Alcohol companies using coronvirus-themed marketing have been slammed by an industry watchdog for encouraging Australians to drink excessively in isolation.

Figures commissioned by the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) showed 70 per cent of Australians were drinking more since isolation began with one third now hitting the bottle every day.

CEO Caterina Giorgi told Daily Mail Australia online ads featuring the slogans such as ‘a bottle a day keeps the iso boredem away’ encourages people to drink excessively in isolation. 

The Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education CEO Caterina Giorgi said some alcohol advertisements were predatory and encouraged people to drink excessively in isolation. Pictured is one of many alcohol advertisements seen on social media

‘Our concern is if people see messages from alcohol companies that talk about drinking more to get through isolation then it is really exploitating this situation and we just think it shouldn’t be allowed,’ she said.

Ms Giorgi is calling for a blanket rule in regulations to stop alcohol companies exploiting people during the difficult coronavirus period.   

Caterina Giorgi (pictured) said the advertising encouraged people to drink excessively in isolation

Caterina Giorgi (pictured) said the advertising encouraged people to drink excessively in isolation

Ms Giorgi said their poll found a third of people purchasing more alcohol were doing so to control their anxiety and stress while in lock down.  

The poll also revealed 32 per cent of respondents drinking more were concerned about the habits of themselves or those in their household. 

‘Increased drinking by people worried about COVID-19 might be good news for alcohol industry executives, but it’s certainly worrying news for our community’s health,’ Ms Giorgi said.

The figures also showed 20 per cent of Australians were also purchasing more alcohol than before the crisis. 

‘We know that if we see increased rates of alcohol consumption we will see increased rates dependence, chronic disease and alcohol fuelled harms in the home,’ she said.

Ms Giorgi said their poll found a third of people purchasing more alcohol were doing so to control their anxiety and stress while in lockdown

Ms Giorgi said their poll found a third of people purchasing more alcohol were doing so to control their anxiety and stress while in lockdown

CEO of Alcohol Beverages Australia, Andrew Wilsmore, told Daily Mail Australia there had been several complaints filed against offending ads and they were being swiftly shut down by the regulatory body.

‘There is a specific code that prohibits encouraging all forms of excessive consumption and that is very important particularly right now,’ he said. 

Mr Wilsmore said alcohol companies should be free to create advertising around coronavirus isolation as long as it is done in a ‘responsible manner and adhering to the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code’.  

But Ms Giorgi said only one ad had been removed with advertising focusing around drinking excessively still rampant online.

Mr Wilsmore also fired back at the idea that Australians were drinking more and said the study done by YouGov deliberately targeted a brief increase of sales during a period of panic buying. 

‘It’s has occurred at the very time that there was a degree of fear in the community that bottle shops would be closed and panic buying was occurring,’ he said.

He argued that alcohol consumption was down overall according to analysis done on Commonwealth Bank credit card records.

Mr Wilsmore also fired back at the idea that Australians were drinking more and said the study done by YouGov deliberately targeted a brief increase of sales during a period of panic buying

Mr Wilsmore also fired back at the idea that Australians were drinking more and said the study done by YouGov deliberately targeted a brief increase of sales during a period of panic buying

He said the closure of pubs, hotels and clubs had seen consumers buy more alcohol but not enough to make up the difference compared to the same time last year.

‘When you look you look at the loss of sales from the closure of bars and pubs and clubs it has nowhere near made up for the small increase in additional retail sales,’ he said. 

While he said according to FARE’s data 20 per cent of Australians may be buying more the remaining people could even be drinking less.

‘We don’t know if these people are going from drinking one day a week to two days a week, and they are making the assumption that everyone has gone to binge drinking levels,’ he said.     

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk