New research has found that ad spend for sugary drinks in Australia reached $129.5 million from 2016-2018, almost doubling ad spend for alternative cold beverages ($68.83 million).
The study, released by Cancer Council Victoria, analysed how advertisers displayed drinks across including free-to-air television, newspapers, magazines, radio, cinema, digital and out-of-home advertising.
“Soft drinks (26 per cent), flavoured milks (24 per cent), and energy drinks (21 per cent) accounted for the majority of sugary drink advertising in Australian media,” said study author Dr Ashleigh Haynes, from Cancer Council Victoria.
“Artificially sweetened drink advertising spend made up only 12 per cent, on average.
“Across media channels, we found that television and out-of-home advertising accounted for the largest share of sugary drink advertising (45 per cent and 35 per cent respectively) and expenditure on out-of-home advertising was far more heavily dominated by sugary drinks (75 per cent) than advertising in all media combined (65 per cent).”
There are concerns that the significant ad spend behind these sugary drinks is contributing to issues around obesity.
Obesity Policy Coalition executive manager Jane Martin children these ads put children at risk.
“Our kids should be able to travel to school or attend a sporting match without being targeted by sugary drink advertising. The Australian Beverages Council and its members have worked hard to persuade Australian consumers that they care about the impact of sugary drinks on our health and are making changes in line with this. Three years ago, they pledged to reduce the amount of sugar across their portfolio by 20 per cent by 2025. Such pledges lose all credibility when we learn that they’re pumping millions of dollars into advertising their full sugar drinks over lower or no sugar options,” Martin said.
“Nobody should trust sugary drink companies to protect our health voluntarily. The beverage industry will always prioritise profits over health. We need governments to set higher standards to support a shift to the promotion of healthy products on TV, radio and digital platforms, as well as in our public spaces, at public events and on public transport.”
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