In 1989, wine and mead became available for sale from grocery stores and supermarkets. This was followed in 1999 with beer. The sale of spirits is not permitted.
The introduction of wine sales into New Zealand supermarkets increased the affordability and consumption of wine markedly. New Zealanders are now drinking twice as much wine as they used to.
There are two major supermarket chains in New Zealand: Woolworths and Foodstuffs.
Alcohol is the biggest selling category in the supermarket. Many New Zealanders buy their alcohol from supermarkets.
On average, the same alcohol product is sold more cheaply from supermarkets than bottle stores.
The number of supermarkets and grocery stores in New Zealand communities has been linked with a range of alcohol-related harms: antisocial behaviour, dishonesty offences, property abuses, property damage, sexual offences and violent offences.
The placement of alcohol in everyday settings, next to commonly purchased products, may normalise alcohol use in our society. Especially among children. New Zealand children are regularly exposed to alcohol in supermarkets.
Tobacco can't be displayed in supermarkets, but alcohol can. Yet alcohol is the most harmful drug in our society.
Be media savvy
Be media savvy and support members of your families/whanau to also be critical of the advertising they are being exposed to. You can do this by being informed and questioning media content, not just alcohol-related content, and being open to discussing it.
Remember that advertisements and promotions are just that, and it’s OK to determine for yourself how much they influence your life.
Screen time can influence young people's attitudes and expectations regarding alcohol. Consider negotiating limits and boundaries on screen time. Most importantly, talk with your young people about what they see in their media environment. For more information about media influence on adolescents, please click here.
Support your children and teens to learn important life skills (age appropriate) such as critical thinking, making decisions, resisting peer pressure. Encourage them to ask questions of the media in their environment:
- What are the messages?
- What is the motivation behind the messages?
- Why are the messages constructed this way?
- Who is being targeted?
- Is the message credible?
- Am I being played?
Asking hard questions about media messages in your environment helps you and your family to understand, and to have more power in how you receive these messages. You will have more of a choice in accepting, questioning, resisting, or rejecting messages in your environment.
Limit exposure to alcohol products in the home
As much as possible, try to make your home an alcohol free zone – you could store alcohol out of sight, drink less often at home, refrain from drinking in front of children. You could consider minimising the amount of alcohol branded products in your home such as caps, T-shirts, and other items carrying alcohol logos.
Limit exposure to alcohol advertising in the home
As much as possible, limit children and young people’s exposure to adult programming and events. These commonly contain alcohol advertising.
Talk to your elected representatives about the need to provide more protection from alcohol advertising.
For more ideas and tips for how to reduce the exposure to alcohol in the home, please check out the following sections:
New Zealand homes are a common place for children to be exposed to alcohol marketing. Local research shows the home is the most common place for children to be exposed to alcohol marketing, with 47% of all exposures occurring in the home, most often through sports sponsorship and branded merchandise.
Exposure to alcohol advertising, including that in the home, is related to taking up drinking earlier and heavier drinking. The latest research indicates that the relationship between exposure to alcohol marketing and underage drinking is causal.
Social media is commonly used by alcohol companies to market their product. Many young people share images of themselves and alcohol brands, exposing others and using alcohol brand values to construct and position their social identities.
Being exposed to alcohol promotions can lead to alcohol harms.
Reducing exposure in our homes
In our homes, children may be exposed to many different types/forms of alcohol marketing, including:
- advertising and sponsorship of sporting events, teams, and athletes
- advertising on TV and/or radio
- alcohol promotion within TV & radio programmes and content
- alcohol marketing and images of drinking behaviour on social media from brands, influencers, and peers
- alcohol products and alcohol-branded merchandise that are owned by family members, friends.
- product placement in movies and video games
- alcohol advertising in supermarket, grocery, and off-licence mailers and other material delivered to mailboxes
Impact of advertising on adolescent drinking
Systematic reviews of research have found exposure to alcohol marketing leads to earlier initiation of drinking and heavier drinking including binge drinking among those who already drink. In particular, engagement with alcohol marketing (taking free gifts, owning branded clothing, engaging with alcohol websites and branded social media pages) saw children engaging in frequent drinking earlier. Having a favourite alcohol advertisement was associated with increased initiation of binge drinking.
Underage binge drinking has been associated with a range of negative outcomes, including peer violence, sexual violence, alcohol‐related fighting, poor school performance, suicide attempts, and using illegal drugs.
Exposure of alcohol advertising on social media
The introduction of digital technologies has opened up new platforms for marketing and promotion.
Alcohol companies aggressively use these new digital platforms, in particular social media (Facebook, Instagram, etc.) and user-generated content.
In 2011, two major alcohol companies announced their plan to increase their digital spend on social media. Bacardi planned to shift up to 90% of its digital spend to Facebook and Diageo expressed their multi-million dollar partnership with Facebook.
Worldwide in 2012, there were 1,017 company-sponsored alcohol-brand related sites on Facebook. In Australia, the top 20 alcohol brands had more than 2.5 million followers on their Facebook pages. Hosts of these pages generated more than 4,500 items of content where followers interacted with them by liking, sharing or commenting on them for more them 2.3 million times.
Young adults are highly active on social media, engaging with their friends or socialising. As such, exposure of alcohol advertising on social media can encourage alcohol consumption. Moreover, Facebook or other social media platform provides marketers with access to the profile data of users who like pages. These types of techniques seek to embed alcohol-branded activities in the daily lives of site fans and followers making it become an intrinsic element of daily norms.
Alcohol-content, presented as visual images and or textual content, along with positive peer reactions to the posts results in showcasing of inappropriate alcohol use in a positive light.
Posting alcohol-related content on personal social media accounts is linked to adverse alcohol-related outcomes such as higher alcohol use, craving and also alcohol-related harms. Those who are exposed to alcohol-related content on social media (e.g. posts shared by or liked by their friends in their social network) have been associated with adverse alcohol outcomes.
Associate Professor Nicholas Carah of University of Queensland, has been researching the emergence of digital media platforms over the last decade. He recently gave a remote address to the Global Alcohol Policy Conference 2020 in Dublin discussion the emergence and and increasingly sophisticated development of alcohol marketing on these platforms. You can watch his presentation on YouTube here.
Alcohol and marketing companies have developed their own Code for Advertising and Promotion of Alcohol. The Code contains a set of guidelines for all alcohol advertisements in NZ. From April 2021, new alcohol advertisements will be expected to adhere to the new Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code, which will apply to all alcohol advertisements from July 2021.
There is also a law around irresponsible promotion of alcohol. This relates to the promotion of excessive drinking as well as advertising/promotions that appeal to minors. Click below to read more.
Make a complaint about alcohol advertising
You have two options in relation to a complaint:
- Make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority under the Code for Alcohol Advertising and Promotion or the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code (for new advertisements from April 2021, all advertisements from July 2021).
- Make a complaint to the Police about a breach of Section 237 of the Sale and Supply of Alcohol Act. It is likely that you will need a high standard of evidence to make a complaint to section 237. But don't let that deter you.
Make a complaint to the Advertising Standards Authority
Please note that anonymous complaints are not accepted: your name must be included.
Follow the complaints process outlined on the ASA website, please click here - ASA - HOW TO MAKE A COMPLAINT
If the advertisement is outdoors, take a photo of it.
Here are some tools to help you. The first is an example of complaint letter to the ASA under the Code for Alcohol Advertising and Promotion (expires end of June 2021), the second is a template of a letter to get your started.
Here are some tools to help you. The first is an example of complaint letter to the ASA under the Alcohol Advertising and Promotion Code (in effect for new advertisements from April 2021, all advertisements from July 2021), the second is a template of a letter to get your started.
Keep a log of alcohol advertising complaints
It may be useful to keep a log of complaints, especially if they are in your local community.
And here is an incident log of alcohol advertising on social and digital media like Facebook, Instagram, YouTube etc.
If your complaint is about TV programming
If you are concerned about the promotion of alcohol within television programmes (not advertisements), complaints can be made to the Broadcasting Standards Authority. Click here to read the section about the BSA on our website.
If you want to take action on alcohol sponsorship in your community settings (clubs, etc.)
Many parents are concerned about their children being exposed to alcohol sponsorship in sporting settings. Many events that children attend may also be sponsored by alcohol companies.
To take action on sponsorship in sports, clubs, or public events (e.g. sporting matches, music, fashion festivals, arts and cultural events), click here.