Marketing

“The nanny state gone too far”: Family winery’s ad banned over “life, drink it in” slogan

Andrew Sadauskas /

The advertising concept knocked back by the ABAC panel

The adjudication panel of the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code has banned a family-owned winery from marketing a $200 wine variety with the slogan “Life, drink it in”, over fears it could promote binge drinking.

The decision comes after ABAC banned the sale of Duff Beer in Australia in September of last year after finding its packaging and online advertising had a “strong and evident appeal to children and/or adolescents”.

The decision was attacked by Taylors Wines’ managing director, Mitchell Taylor, in an opinion article published by Mumbrella.

The tagline was to be used for a new $200-a-bottle wine variety called The Pioneer, which was created by the third-generation winemaker in tribute to his father.

When Taylor showed the original concepts for the advertisement to the ABAC, he says he was surprised his advertisement was rejected by its adjudication panel. It was then rejected a second time after he resubmitted it.

Taylor, who has sat as chair of Alcohol Beverages Australia and is also a director of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, told SmartCompany he supports the advertising code but finds the decision ridiculous.

“While ABAC is a voluntary code, not a government regulator code, any advertising has to be approved by ABAC, otherwise they won’t be run by most media outlets,” Taylor says.

“It is the nanny state gone too far. We’ve become so paranoid that we can’t celebrate the fact that most Australians enjoy a good wine in moderation because of political correctness.”

“And for a $200 a bottle wine, will this really encourage binge drinking?”

Taylor says the only response he received from ABAC indicated it believed the slogan could be interpreted as encouraging binge drinking.

“And, to be honest, wine is a healthy product designed to be had with food and, when you look at the research, the people who are binge drinkers in some social segments generally don’t tend to drink wine,” he says.

Taylor says that he will “take a pause” and consider a range of possible options, including creating an alternative slogan or resubmitting the advertisement in a year’s time, when he hopes ABAC will be more level-headed.

“Being a family wine business, we don’t want to break the law,” he says.

In a statement issued to SmartCompany a spokesperson for ABAC stood by the decision.

“The ABAC Scheme Ltd has a rigorous pre-vetting and review process that is underpinned by international best practice code standards,” the spokesperson says.

“The code was reviewed in 2014 to ensure it was meeting community standards.”

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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