GROG companies have relentlessly pounded social media to encourage people to get drunk during the Covid-19 lockdown.
Warnings from advocacy groups and the Morrison government about the risk of excessive drinking while people are in isolation had little effect on the industry, which pumped out one advert promoting alcohol every 35 seconds on some people’s Facebook and Instagram accounts.
The booze barrage has been called out by the Cancer Council WA and Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education, who say it makes a mockery of self-regulation.
CCWA alcohol program manager Julia Stafford said a report which studied the advertising blitz found that 58 per cent promoted getting easy access to alcohol without leaving the house.
A quarter suggested it was good to drink during the Covid-19 pandemic, while 16 per cent suggested using alcohol to cope, “survive” or feel better.
“With phrases like ‘wine from home’, ‘Stay in. Drink up’ and ‘confinement sale’, it’s evident the alcohol industry is using a global health crisis to its advantage,” Ms Stafford said.
FARE CEO Caterina Giorgi said the companies were taking advantage of people’s fear and anxiety during Covid-19 by urging them to drink.
Western Australian wine makers Latitude 34 got into trouble with the industry’s self-regulation body the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code Scheme late last month for its Covid campaign.
An email sent to subscribers carried a picture of a young mum trying to deal with two young children while fielding a telephone call and using a laptop.
A message over the photograph asked: “Your parent-teacher skills at their limit?”
But what an ABAC panel didn’t find funny was the punchline: “Wine Can Help!”
While it found the ad breached the code by suggesting alcohol could help people relax, the wine company noted in its response it wasn’t a signatory to ABAC and “are not inclined to be bound to the ABAC Code of Conduct”.