The issue of alcohol advertisements and promotions which certain members of the public say “entice” young children into drinking have once again come under the spotlight as a father has been blocked by the AFL and Cricket Australia from taking out advertisements promoting healthy living because sporting bodies feel it would conflict with their sponsorships from alcohol companies.
The incident has public health experts up in arms and they have accused sporting codes of “bowing down to corporate bullies”.
Read about the controversy below, taken from TheHerald.com.au:
Tasmanian Aaron Schultz tried to buy advertising space at Hobart’s Bellerive Oval to promote his ”Game Changer” campaign against the marketing of junk food and alcohol towards children through sport.
He hoped to run four 30-second advertisements on the big screens during the North Melbourne versus Sydney game on April 13 at a total cost of $1500, but was told via email by North Melbourne that the AFL ”could not accommodate” the ad.
It carried the slogan ”tackling unhealthy advertising in sport” and the gamechanger.org.au website.
Mr Schultz also approached Cricket Tasmania, which have permanent signage rights at the ground, willing to pay up to $15,000 for a space.
But an email response from Cricket Australia sent on March 26 said; ”Unfortunately your campaign contradicts with some of our contracted partners.”
Public health expert Mike Daube, director of the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth, said he was amazed sporting bodies would censor public health messages.
”It is appalling that alcohol and junk food companies can prevent the communication of healthy messages,,” he said.
Schultz launched the “Game Changer” campaign in January this year after he became concerned that advertisements during sporting events was having an impact on his children who displayed an interest in cricket and began to watch it a lot on television and live in Hobart. He then realised that high levels of alcohol and other junk foods products being promoted were sending the wrong message to children and in fact all Australians.
The article on TheHerald.com.au also went on to discuss the recent analysis of 3 AFL final series games where alcohol promotions were shown an average of 244 times which worked out to more than 20 minutes a match.
A spokesman for the AFL said that the code had no contracts with any of its partners or sponsors that banned advertisements such as Game Changer but the advertisement did oppose the beliefs of the AFL because according to the AFL people should make their own decisions about what they drink and eat and also do so on behalf of their families. He also said that the AFL supported messages around responsible use of alcohol but not imposing restrictions.
The spokesman went on to say:
A Cricket Australia spokesman said the responsible drinking category was already filled.
”Cricket Australia and Carlton & United Brewery’s ‘Know When to Declare’ responsible use of alcohol advertising is the only advertising of this type we carry,” he said.