SYDNEY: Pressure continues to grow on alcohol advertising in Australia as a new survey shows that two thirds of people there think alcohol sponsorship and sport do not mix.
The Salvation Army commissioned the survey as part of its Alcohol Awareness Week, with Roy Morgan polling more than 1,000 adult Australians on their attitudes to drink and sport.
It found that 72.9% of respondents believed alcohol and sport had become too closely related, while 67.2% of respondents thought alcohol sponsorship should be phased out of sport.
The Salvation Army is now calling on the Federal Government to review the place of alcohol advertising in the nation's sporting culture, citing the impact on children and young people.
The move comes just a week after a row erupted following Cricket Australia's refusal to run an ad from a state team sponsor at a one-day competition.
Healthway, the major sponsor of the Western Australian Cricket Association, was told its ad informing fans that ''alcohol and sport don't mix'' was not appropriate as it could affect other partners of the game.
"Their priorities are clear," Mike Daube, of the McCusker Centre for Alcohol and Youth, told the Sydney Morning Herald. "They are keen to protect their alcohol sponsors from messages that might offend them, but do nothing to stop alcohol promotion that might offend health-promoting sponsors."
The Salvation Army survey also found widespread concern (78%) about the use of social media as an advertising medium aimed at the under-25s, while 70% thought that advertising overall encouraged that age group to drink more.
Even the younger age groups appeared to broadly agree with that assessment, as 71% of 18-34 year olds expressed concern over the impact of social media ads for alcohol and 60% on alcohol advertising in general.
"We want to see Australians empowered to make smart choices about alcohol use," Salvation Army spokesman Gerard Byrne told B&T. "We are deeply concerned that the high level of alcohol promotion and advertising has a negative impact on those choices."
Data sourced from B&T, Sydney Morning Herald; additional content by Warc staff