Effective date: 28 July 2009
Last amended: 14 January 2020
Next review: January 2022
This guideline is designed to provide information in regard to the subject matter covered, and with the understanding that the Director of Liquor Licensing is not passing legal opinion or interpretation or other professional advice. The information is
provided on the understanding that all persons undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its contents.
This document provides the industry with a framework of practices to follow in the responsible promotion and advertising of liquor. The overall purpose of the guideline is to encourage responsible attitudes towards the sale, supply and consumption of liquor and to prevent practices that are likely to cause harm. The guideline applies to all licensees in Western Australia.
The Liquor Control Act 1988 (the Act) places an obligation on licensees to sell and supply liquor in a responsible manner.
One of the primary objects of the Act is to minimise harm or ill-health caused to people, or any group of people, due to the use of liquor. A secondary object of the Act is to encourage responsible attitudes and practices towards the promotion, sale, supply, service and consumption of liquor that are consistent with the interests of the community.
The principles contained in this guideline are designed to assist licensees to ensure that any promotion or advertising is consistent with the requirements of the Act.
Section 64(3) of the Act empowers the licensing authority to impose conditions on a licence which:
- ensure liquor is sold and consumed in a responsible manner;
- limit the manner or the containers, or number or type of containers, in which liquor may be sold;
- prohibit promotional activity in which drinks are offered free or at reduced prices, or limit the circumstances in which this may be done; and
- prohibit any practices which encourage irresponsible drinking.
Where there is evidence that a licensee has not promoted, advertised, sold or supplied liquor in a responsible manner, the licensing authority may impose restrictive conditions on the licence.
Promotions and activities that encourage people to consume liquor rapidly and/or excessively can lead to alcohol-related violence, anti-social behaviour and have adverse health impacts. Further, promotions that appeal to minors, are indecent, offensive or generally out of step with community standards are not in the public interest.
The following principles provide licensees with a reference guide for the responsible advertising and promotion of liquor. Whilst the examples are not exhaustive, the overarching question that licensees can ask themselves to assess whether their promotion or activity is acceptable, is “Does this practice encourage the irresponsible consumption of liquor or portray the consumption of liquor in an inappropriate way?”
|Principle ||Examples of Unacceptable Practices |
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not provide incentives that could lead to the rapid/excessive consumption of liquor.
- Drinking games that require rapid/excessive consumption of liquor.
- Skolling competitions.
- Dares or challenges.
- Vouchers, promotional cards etc that are only valid for a short period of time, which may cause a patron to rapidly consume or stockpile drinks (i.e. $50 voucher redeemable between 9-10pm).
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not encourage the stockpiling of drinks by the patron for consumption on the licensed premises or the transferring of drinks to other patrons.
|Promotions that encourage or reward the purchase of, or drinking of, large amounts of liquor in a single transaction, such as two drinks for the price of one (unlimited). |
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not involve non-standard sized drinks or liquor in receptacles that encourage rapid drinking.
- Serving liquor in a yard glass for skolling.
- Serving multiple shots of liquor to an individual.
- Serving liquor in test tubes or vessels that are not free-standing and so will likely be consumed rapidly.
- Pouring liquor straight into patrons’ mouths, including laybacks and shooting liquor from a water pistol.
- Liquor served in oversized vessels such as a cocktail served in a fishbowl with a straw or cocktails in buckets. If drinks are intended to be shared, standard drinking vessels should be provided.
|Principle ||Examples of Unacceptable Practices |
- The advertising or promotion of liquor involving happy hours, trade promotions, free or discounted liquor must have reasonable limits and controls in place to minimise the risk of rapid, excessive and irresponsible consumption of liquor.
- Excessive amount/period of free drinks such as free drinks all night, buy one, get one free all night etc.
- Excessively discounted liquor such as more than 50% off the retail price.
- Promotions where purchasing larger volumes of liquor result in greater discounts.
- Happy hours that run for more than 60 minutes at a time, more than twice per day and/or after 7pm.
- Chase the Ace promotions which can only be entered by purchasing liquor (i.e. cannot be entered with the purchase of soft drinks, food, etc).
- Where limited free/discounted liquor is advertised or promoted, the free/discounted liquor must not be the primary focus of the advertisement or promotion. The provision of food, entertainment, accommodation or other purpose of the venue must be the primary focus of the advertisement/promotion.
- Advertisement stating ‘free drink’ in large font.
- No other information about the venue’s products/services is included in the advertisement or is only contained in small font.
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not use language, slogans or images that promote or encourage intoxication.
- Drink till you drop, Drink like a fish, Get slushie sloshed etc.
- Promoting events that focus on excessive alcohol consumption such as ‘Mad Mondays’.
- Staff/agents must not be engaged to promote a beverage due to its higher alcohol content and/or sell promotional drinks from a drink belt, backpack or other gimmick devices.
- Discount only applies on the brand’s full strength beer and not its mid/low strength equivalent.
- A liquor promoter walks around providing free samples from a drink belt.
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not include sexual, degrading, sexist or gratuitously offensive images, symbols, figures and innuendo.
- Offering free or discounted liquor for participants exhibiting nudity or other offensive behaviour, such as wet t-shirt competitions.
- Offensive language.
- Advertisements that include sexual imagery.
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not portray people or depict material in a way that discriminates against, vilifies, or is demeaning to any person or section of the community on account of race, ethnicity, nationality, sex, age, sexual preference, religion, disability or political belief.
- Advertisements or promotions that highlight racial differences, make fun of people with disabilities etc.
- Gender-based free drinks or discounts, such as ladies drink for free.
|Principle ||Examples of Unacceptable Practices |
- The advertising or promotion must not suggest that the consumption/presence of liquor will improve physical/mental health or mood or cause or contribute to the achievement of personal, business, social, sporting, sexual or other success.
- Advertisements that link alcohol consumption with winning a sports game, gaining a new business client etc.
- Advertisements that suggest alcohol consumption will make someone happier, smarter, healthier etc.
- The advertising, promotion or branding material must not encourage under-age drinking, or be likely to appeal to minors.
- Designs, motifs, characters, imagery, cartoons, merchandise, media and interactive games that are likely to appeal to minors.
- Design or packaging that appeals to children such as lollies, icy-poles etc.
- Includes settings that are primarily used by minors such as schools, youth clubs, playgrounds etc.
- The advertising, promotion or branding material must not display children under the age of 18.
- Images of children in advertisements/branding etc.
- Advertisements displayed at child-focused locations (schools, playgrounds etc).
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not suggest any association with risk taking, violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour.
- Linking the consumption of liquor with motor racing, sky diving, fighting etc.
- Linking the consumption of liquor with potentially hazardous activities such as swimming and water sports, driving a car, operating a boat/plane etc.
- The advertising or promotion of liquor must not include any association with breaking the law, including the use of drugs.
|Anything that portrays drink driving, drug taking, vandalism etc. |
Other Harm Minimisation Measures
There are a range of harm minimisation measures and strategies that licensees can adopt to ensure liquor is promoted and consumed responsibly. Some of the strategies licensees can consider to minimise harm include:
Timing of promotions. The later in the trading period that the promotion is held, the more likely it is that a patron has already consumed liquor and may be at risk of intoxication. Licensees are encouraged not to conduct promotions after 7pm.
Type and strength of liquor. Consider running promotions offering lower strength liquor products. Provide half measures of spirits if requested and reasonably priced non-alcoholic drinks to patrons (in addition to free drinking water which must be provided at all times).
Frequency. Consider limiting the number of promotions that are held in a single trading period.
Duration. Licensees should appropriately time the duration of promotions to reduce the risks of irresponsible drinking.
Price. A common-sense approach should be taken when discounting liquor to ensure that excessive discounts are not offered, as this may lead to irresponsible consumption.
Monitor and manage patrons. Consider employing RSA marshals during the promotion who can monitor patron behaviour and respond early if there are risks of intoxication. This includes preventing patrons from stockpiling drinks.
Consider national advertising standards. Consider any national advertising requirements before conducting advertising, such as the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code and Outdoor Media Association Alcohol Advertising Guidelines.