Responsible marketing of food and beverages.

Author: Jeremy Szwider

14 April 2021 | Reading time: 2 minutes

‘Huge news! 10 Grand Massive Quadruple Beef Burgers for the price of 1!’

Tempting, but the use of a tag line like this in an advertising campaign would likely breach Australian advertising codes.

Advertising of food and beverages is largely self-regulated in Australia. Advertisers can communicate and interact with their consumers more broadly now than ever. However, best practice dictates that companies should strive to comply with relevant codes, practice notes and guidelines to avoid adversely influencing the food preferences and consumption patterns of consumers.

Promotion of excessive consumption of food and beverages 

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) has in place a code of ethics which deal with advertising and marketing food and beverage products in Australia.

The Food and Beverages Advertising and Marketing Communications Code set out by the AANA states that advertisements promoting food and beverages ‘…shall not undermine the importance of healthy or active lifestyles nor the promotion of healthy balanced diets, or encourage what would reasonably be considered as excess consumption…’ either through the representation of products or portion sizes portrayed, which may lead the target audience to understand that excessive consumption is being condoned or encouraged.

Companies, and their marketing departments, should proceed with caution when preparing advertising materials drawing in consumers by promoting excessive consumption of food or beverages or conveying an overall message of an unhealthy lifestyle. In noting that the AANA standards and codes are platform and technology neutral, an example may include imagery posted on social media promoting a competition where the prize is an instant redemption of a substantial amount of an unhealthy food item.

Further care must be taken when promoting the consumption of alcoholic beverages and advertising food and beverages aimed at children.

Risk of non-compliance

If companies are found to have breached advertising standards or codes, consequences may involve advertisement withdrawal, loss of reputation where a non-compliance decision by the Advertising Standards Board is made public and loss of sales due to possible adverse consumer reactions.

Looking for more information?

The Bespoke Team is here to assist you with the review and fine-tuning of your marketing materials to ensure compliance with the relevant advertising codes.