An alcohol company has been given the green light to offer free lip gloss as a promotional tool because the make-up product does not appeal to young people, the alcohol industry's advertising complaints panel has determined.
A research centre at Curtin University complained about the promotion, which offered a free Napoleon Perdis lip gloss with each bottle of Skyy Vodka bought from Thirsty Camel Bottleshops, arguing it was a clear attempt to appeal to young women and encourage under-age drinking.
But the panel that administers the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code, an industry-funded voluntary code of conduct for alcohol marketing, upheld the view of the advertiser and product distributor that lip gloss appealed to adults only.
The ruling was typical of ABAC decisions, said Mike Daube, from Curtin University's McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth. It has incensed anti-binge drinking campaigners, who were joined by doctors last month in demanding legislation on alcohol advertising and marketing.
''The codes are absolutely hopeless and so feeble that it's difficult to get any kind of complaint up,'' Professor Daube said. ''There is no question whatsoever that the drinks industry targets young people.''
Campari, the parent company of Skyy Vodka, said the promotional campaign presented a ''mature, balanced and responsible approach'' to drinking and used a lip gloss from the ''prestige'' brand Napoleon Perdis that would have ''extremely low'' appeal to teens.
''The target demographic for Skyy Vodka [is] stylish and glamorous adult women, aged 18-34, with a particular focus on adult women aged 25-43,'' the company said in its submission.
Napoleon Perdis has also supplied lip gloss giveaways for alcohol brands Midori and Chambord but did not wish to comment on its role in alcohol consumption.