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Tennis 2022: Ash Barty Australian Open beer debate, Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code, Corona, debate, James Mathison

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When Ash Barty enjoyed a hard-earned beer after winning the Australian Open, you’d think no one would any problem with it.

When Ash Barty became the first homegrown Australian Open champion in 44 years, it was hard to begrudge our three-time grand slam winner a cheeky drink after a tough two week tournament.

Although Barty didn’t drop a set and spent a ridiculously short amount of time on court, there is no such thing as an easy grand slam victory.

With the pressure of expectation for the Aussie World No. 1 to finally break through at Melbourne Park, the Channel 9 broadcasters, including one of Barty’s best friends in Casey Dellacqua, offered her a drink.

She cracked her first beer live on television to celebrate her incredible win but insisted that the panel join her as she wasn’t going to drink alone.

“I’m a Corona girl,” Barty said before enjoying a celebratory beverage.

The immediate reaction was positive as fans were all about the celebration.

However, that simple act sparked a debate as former Australian Idol host James Mathison claimed Channel 9 was “glorifying alcohol”.

While Mathison faced some backlash, some also backed Mathison’s view and he doubled down, saying he hoped he held up a mirror to Australia and its relationship with alcohol.

But Mathison was far from the only one who appeared to have problems with Barty enjoying a beer.

Last week, the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) dismissed a complaint into the segment but still investigated whether it was a PR stunt.

The complaint received on January 31 read: “There was a large, nicely presented display of Peroni and Corona beers in the TV interview with Ash Barty who just won the tennis final. The host asked the player which beer she would like. All panel members proceeded to drink the beers, mentioning the brand names whilst doing it.

“I think the segment glorified and glamorised alcohol and was very deceptive if

it was indeed a paid promotion. Why else are they doing it if it wasn’t a paid

stunt? It’s poor when many children were up watching the final and Ash Barty

is a role model for many girls too.”

The ruling also approached Carlton & United Breweries for a response and the company stated that it does not have a commercial partnership with Channel 9 relating to promotion of products during the broadcast.

But Peroni is the official beer partner of the Australian Open, but did not have an agreement relating to product placement in post-match interviews.

The ruling stated: “Given there is no such product placement arrangement in place, the interview does not meet the definition of a Marketing Communication under the ABAC.”

The ruling also responded to the complaint that it “glorified and glamorised” alcohol consumption.

“Many Australians enjoy drinking beer responsibly, and we reject the notion that depicting panellists taking moderate sips of beer on television in any way constitutes irresponsible or offensive behaviour,” the ruling read.

It also stated that being shown at 9.30pm on a Saturday night was during the time alcohol advertisements could be shown on TV and that the segment pointed to the fact that Barty had not consumed alcohol during the tournament which shows she “is clearly a moderate and responsible consumer of alcohol”.

It also stated that “Not every reference to alcohol in everyday life is ‘alcohol marketing’.”

Hopefully a historically brilliant role model may be able to partake in the odd beverage to celebrate her success without sparking a furore in the future.

Read related topics:Ash Barty



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