The way alcohol is promoted and sold influences patrons, the way they consume alcohol and how they behave. Some drink promotions can encourage the excessive and irresponsible consumption of alcohol, which in turn contributes to:
- anti-social behaviour
- alcohol-related violence and disorder, and
- adverse health effects.
The Victorian Liquor Commission has the power to ban inappropriate advertising or promotions. The Commission may also seek to vary, suspend or cancel a liquor licence for failing to comply.
If licensees are unsure whether their current or proposed advertising or promotions comply with Victorian liquor laws, they may wish to obtain external, or legal advice.
Guide to responsible advertising and promotion of liquor
Advertising or promotion that is not in the public interest include those that are:
- likely to appeal to minors
- likely to encourage or condone violence or anti-social behaviour
- directly or indirectly sexual, degrading or sexist
- prescribed by regulations as advertising or promotion that is not in the public interest.
Licensees should refer to our guidelines for responsible liquor advertising and promotions, which sets out principles of good practice and the types of advertising or promotions that may attract a banning notice. The guidelines apply to all forms of advertising and promotions, including those conducted through websites and social media channels.
If you are concerned with drink promotions being offered by Victorian licensed venues please contact us.
The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) Scheme conducts a pre-vetting service (a paid service) that assesses proposed marketing communications, including product names and packaging, against the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code. This service may assist licensees in ensuring that proposed liquor advertising or promotions are responsible. For more information, see About the ABAC Pre-Vetting
Static alcohol advertising near schools
It is illegal, under the Liquor Control Reform Act , to display certain types of static alcohol advertising within 150 meters of a school.
This includes any advertising that promotes or publicises liquor using static activities such as:
- banners, billboards, hoardings, signs, images or rolling static displays
- digital billboards and panels including those that display moving or video images
- moveable billboards and displays (e.g. A-frame moveable display boards).
It does not include broadcast television, radio, digital media such as websites or social media, and commercial print media such as magazines and newspapers.
Some types of static advertising is exempt, including:
- a logo, emblem or product name on a building that is occupied by a person conducting a business associated with the supply of liquor
- alcohol advertising within a licensed premises or on the exterior of a licensed premises
- alcohol advertising on an item of clothing worn by a person
- alcohol advertising on a vehicle in transit through an area within 150 metres of a school that is travelling to a destination
- alcohol advertising at a sporting ground or racecourse.
A list of all schools and their locations is available on the data.vic 150 metres is measured as a straight-line distance from the perimeter of a school.
Examples of advertising
The following examples are designed to provide some guidance on the types of advertising that may and may not be lawful.
The following scenarios take place within 150 metres of a school perimeter
Is it prohibited by the Act?
|An A-frame poster set up on a footpath advertising a ‘$5 wines’ happy hour special||Yes, it is prohibited||The advertising is static advertising and promotes liquor|
|A moveable footpath barrier that contains the name of a business, where the business name includes words such as ‘wine’ or ‘beer’, etc.||Yes, it is prohibited||The name of the business gives publicity to, or otherwise promotes liquor, and the barrier is a moveable display, therefore, it is prohibited static alcohol advertising|
|A poster in the interior window of a pub advertising a new cocktail||No, it is not prohibited||The advertising is occurring within the licensed premises so the prohibition does not apply, even though the venue is located within 150 metres of the perimeter of a school|
|A rotating sign on the top of a pub with the name of a beer company||No, it is not prohibited||The advertising is on the exterior of a licensed premises so the prohibition does not apply even though the venue is located within 150 metres of the perimeter of a school|
|A billboard situated above a road which advertises a special on sparkling wine at the local bottle shop||Yes, it is prohibited||The advertising is static advertising and promotes liquor|
|A sign attached to the exterior of a bar advertising the name of the bar||No, it is not prohibited||The advertising is on the exterior of the licensed premises or it is a logo, emblem or product name on a building that is occupied by a person conducting a business that is associated with the supply of liquor, therefore, the prohibition does not apply even though the venue is located within 150 metres of the perimeter of a school|
|A banner displayed in a school auditorium for a performance where the banner states “sponsored by x cocktail bar”. The performance is an unlicensed event||Yes, it is prohibited||The advertising is static advertising and the business name gives publicity to, or otherwise promotes liquor|
|A primary school is holding a school fete and has obtained a temporary liquor licence. A banner is displayed at a stall located within the licensed area that states “beer for sale”||No, it is not prohibited||The advertising is displayed within the specific area of the school licensed under the temporary licence, therefore, it is advertising within a licensed premises as the school has obtained a temporary liquor licence, therefore, the prohibition does not apply|
Bannned advertisements and promotions
The Victorian Liquor Commisison also has powers to ban advertisements or promotions that encourage the irresponsible consumption of liquor or is otherwise not in the public interest. A list of banned advertisements and promotions since 2012 is below.
|Licensee / venue||Promotion||Banning notice|
|Six promotions on a regional venue’s Facebook account that were encouraging condoned irresponsible drinking and the rapid consumption of alcohol have been banned. Some of the promotions offered free or discounted liquor for certain groups without adequate restrictions, while other promotions contained sexual, degrading and gratuitously offensive innuendos. One promotion encouraged patrons to “get hammered” but pretend to be sober if anyone asks. The Commission found the promotions were likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol and were otherwise not in the public interest.||25-02-2020|
|Slim Chillers Pty Ltd||Two advertisements on the Facebook social media platform that reference a liquor product have been banned. One advertisement depicts a minor with text suggesting a person has to consume liquor for a desired effect. The second advertisement appears to trivialise irresponsible drinking, and suggests that breaking the law by drink driving is acceptable. The Commission found the advertisements were likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol and were otherwise not in the public interest.||27-03-2019|
|Ascot Vale Liquor Pty Ltd||Two advertisements on Facebook social media platform that referenced a certain liquor product. The ads asked consumers what flavour of that product had made them “lose all their dignity” and asked them to raise their hand if they had been “personally victimised” by that product. The advertisements sought to encourage the audience to engage with the questions and post responses. The Commission found the advertisements were likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol and were otherwise not in the public interest.||16-10-2018|
|Snatch Pty Ltd Trading as "Tramp Bar" Basement Level 14-20 King Street Melbourne||The use of advertising or promotion appearing on the Licensee's website. The video depicts the following:
Dialogue which uses the term "slut" with reference to animated female patrons who are handed containers of vomit after asking for any drink specials.
|124 079 072 Pty Ltd (Licensee) Trading as "Asian Beer Café" Lot3/311 Melbourne Central Cnr Swanston & Latrobe Street Melbourne||The use of the advertising as follows:
2 FOR 1 Cocktails, ALL DAY SUNDAY Advertising and promoting the conduct of the licensed premises that In anyway Is likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
|Snatch Pty Ltd (Licensee) Trading as “Tramp Bar” Basement, Level 14-20 Kings Street Melbourne||The use of advertising as follows:
|Jonathan Robert Masterson (nominee) Open Door Pub Co Pty Ltd trading as The Hawthorn 481 Burwood Road Hawthorn|| |
The use of advertising ‘2 for 1, ALL DRINKS, ALL DAY’ on Mother’s Day, Sundays, and on any other day.
Advertising and promoting the conduct of the licensed premises that in anyway is likely to encourage irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
|Skinny Babbage Pty Ltd trading as Mordialloc Supper Club 539 Main Street Mordialloc||Advertising and promoting the conduct of the licensed premises in a way that objectifies women or men and is not in the public interest. The advertisement depicting female genitalia giving birth to the ‘Mordy Supper Club’ logo to promote the opening of Mordy Supper Club’s new bar on Australia Day.||20-01-2014|
|Mynt Pty Ltd trading as Mynt 185 Watton Street Werribee|| |
Use of images on the Mynt website depicting individuals showing signs of intoxication or general anti-social behaviour.
Advertising or promotion of irresponsible consumption of alcohol by appearing to reward excessive consumption of alcohol.
Advertising and promoting the supply of alcohol in a way that is not in the public interest, namely advertising, ‘get trashed every week and get snapped…contact us to claim your prize’, the prize being two drink cards the following Thursday at the licensed premises.
|Melbourne Hospitality Group Pty Ltd trading as Spearmint Rhino 14-20 King Street Melbourne||Advertisement stating ‘law enforcement always free, show your ID at reception for free entry every night at Spearmint Rhino’.||14-05-2013|
|Bendigo Bat and Ball Pty Ltd and Curpol Pty Ltd trading as Albert Hotel, Universal or Universal on McCrae 131 McCrae Street Bendigo|| |
Advertisement(s) titled ‘War of Worlds - Muck Up Day’ offering the supply of liquor through the game of ‘Beer Pong’ and the conduct of ‘Jelly Wrestling’ on the licensed premises on 26 October 2012.
Promoting the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by appearing to offer the game ‘Beer Pong’ on 26 October 2012 on the licensed premises.
Promoting conduct of the licensed premises not in the public interest by appearing to offer ‘Jelly Wrestling’ on 26 October 2012 on the licensed premises.
|Valve Trading Pty Ltd trading as Jett Black or Jettblk 177 Greville Street Prahran|| |
Advertising and promoting (including on Facebook) the supply of alcohol in a way that is not in the public interest, namely ‘Unlimited free beer and champagne’ being available at the licensed premises during a promotional period of two (2) consecutive hours during the ‘Ace of Spades’ promotion commencing 28 September 2012.
Promoting the irresponsible consumption of alcohol by appearing to make unlimited alcohol available for a promotional period of two (2) consecutive hours.
Promoting to the public the availability of alcohol for consumption that is not consistent with the RSA requirements of the Liquor Control Reform Act 1998 during a promotional period of two (2) consecutive hours.
Reviewed 02 April 2023