Newspaper Icon24 Apr 2018: Media Release - Beer advertising featuring Eric Murray found to breach Advertising Code

Beer advertising featuring double Olympic gold medallist Eric Murray is to be removed from the ‘Beer the Beautiful Truth’ campaign following a successful complaint by Alcohol Healthwatch.

Alcohol Healthwatch Executive Director Dr Nicki Jackson says the Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol prohibits advertising that uses heroes of the young. But she says Eric Murray featured prominently in the DB and Lion campaign whilst at the same time proactively engaging directly with young people through his work in New Zealand schools.

“Prohibiting heroes of the young featuring in alcohol advertisements is intended to protect adolescents from the harmful effects of alcohol advertising,” Dr Jackson said.

“Research shows that the more adolescents are exposed to alcohol advertising, the more likely they are to drink heavily. This flows on to a range of social and health problems, including a higher chance of dropping out of school and a higher risk of depression and suicide.

“Whilst we are satisfied that the Advertising Standards Authority Complaints Board agreed that Murray is a hero of the young, the decision to remove him has had little or no impact. This is because the decision took six weeks and the campaign has since ended. The harm to young people has already been done.”

Dr Jackson said this was just one example of many illustrating the failure of an alcohol industry self-regulation approach to advertising complaints.

“New Zealanders should not feel assured that the alcohol industry is protecting our young people from the harm of alcohol advertising.”

Dr Jackson says there is strong public support for restricting alcohol advertising. She says UMR polling in February found 62 percent of New Zealanders supported the Government restricting alcohol advertising and sponsorship in the same way it restricts tobacco advertising and sponsorship. Much higher levels of support were found among Green (74 percent) and New Zealand First (70 percent) voters.

She hopes the decision will send a strong signal to other celebrities not to engage in alcohol advertising if they also have a strong youth appeal. “We must remember that alcohol is, by far, the most harmful drug in society. The decision to be involved in the promotion of these harmful products should be taken very seriously.”

ENDS Contact: Dr Nicki Jackson, Executive Director Alcohol Healthwatch (09) 520 7035, mobile 021 187 9749

24 April 2018 - Decision from Advertising Standards Authority: Beer the Beautiful Truth