Cheeky booze advert a fizzier

A BOOZE company’s attempt at a cheeky marketing campaign in Fremantle has backfired after a hand-painted mural was ordered to be painted over and public health advocates slammed it as an irresponsible “stunt”.

The unauthorised ad depicting a large can of Cooper’s Beer limited edition Hazy IPA surfaced and quickly vanished on Bannister Street after being commissioned by Victorian marketing agency Taboo as part of a nationwide campaign.

Sign-painter Mick Haines, who got the nod to do the work (and conveniently left his mobile contact details in his signature) told the Herald the company only sought permission from the owners of Camera House. 

“They didn’t get permission from the council so I have to go back and paint it out,” Mr Haines said.

A day later the advert had gone.

Mr Haines said Taboo planned for the ad to be up for six weeks but the threat of fines had forced a rethink.

Public Health Advocacy Institute WA director Melissa Stoneham criticised the company for placing the ad in a street that filled with families during the weekend.

Exposure

“There is compelling research that alcohol advertising impacts on the behaviours and attitude of young people,” Dr Stoneham said.

“A systematic review published in 2016 provides evidence that young people who have greater exposure to alcohol marketing are more likely to start drinking at and earlier age and to drink at risky levels.”

Cancer Council WA alcohol program manager Julia Stafford was even more blunt: “This seems to be yet another alcohol company trying to flout even the very limited controls that exist on alcohol advertising,” she said.“We encourage governments to do everything they can to protect kids and other vulnerable community members from being bombarded with alcohol ads.”

Fremantle federal Labor MP Josh Wilson actively campaigned for stricter alcohol controls while on the local council, championing a policy that banned events named after alcohol from receiving council funding, and also calling on Dan Murphy’s to remove all references to “lowest liquor price guaranteed” from its then-proposed Duoro Road outlet.

He says Cooper’s have stepped out of line.

“That is not street art, it’s alcohol advertising, and it’s disappointing that an otherwise reputable beer company would pull such a stunt,” Mr Wilson said.

Fremantle council said no fines or further enforcement was necessary because the parties involved co-operated and removed the sign.

The council’s Advertisement Policy states: “Signage should promote the business or activity that takes place on the subject site and third party advertising is generally not supported.”

Tactical advertising

It’s not the first time tactical advertising has made its way onto the streets of Fremantle.

In 2014 the Herald reported on a Converse campaign using graffiti and murals to create indirect ads, one of them plastered on the back of Gino’s. 

Former Fremantle Society president Henty Farrar said at the time the line between advertising and art had been crossed, on a large scale. 

The Herald approached Taboo’s director of first impressions Nicole Skilbeck who confirmed the advert was their concept, but asked for any further questions to come in email, as she wasn’t sure she’d be the best person to respond. As of deadline, we hadn’t heard back.

The company’s website boasts: “There is no solution for creating meaningful connections between brands and consumers … This means we constantly push, shove and evolve our thinking to make work that no one else can.”

 by MORGAN DE SMIDT 

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