Jim Beam-branded clothing is being sold to children as young as four, in what public health experts have said is one of the most shocking examples of alcohol advertising they have seen.
A range of Jim Beam-branded V8 supercar promotional clothing, sold under the Jim Beam Racing “kids team” label, is available for sale online.
The McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth wrote to the Minister for Mental Health and Ageing, Mark Butler, on Monday to complain that regulatory intervention was needed to prevent such marketing.
“This is marketing to kids and it's also using them as a mobile billboard for alcohol,” McCusker director Mike Daube said.
“It shows self-regulation is a failure, and it also makes you wonder what type of people can't see that this is a shocker."
One such jumper features a logo that says "The Team” in the Jim Beam font, and has the Jim Beam logo on the tag.
Simone Pettigrew, a professor of marketing in the business school at the University of Western Australia and the director of its health promotion evaluation unit, said research showed such subtle marketing and branding was likely to be most effective at creating a long-lasting impression.
“If we keep pushing this message at children that alcohol is in your environment and it's an everyday part of life . . . we really can't be surprised about the escalating rates of alcohol-related harm we are experiencing,” she said.
Steve Inch, the managing director for Oceania for Beam Australia, said its naming rights partnership with Dick Johnson Racing had concluded at the end of last year, and complied with “recognised industry guidelines around the marketing of alcohol”.
He said the kids racing range “carries the brand identities of the various team partners and relates to the Dick Johnson Racing Team, but does not and did not carry the Jim Beam brand”.