One of Australia’s First Families of Wine has rightfully called foul over the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code’s rejection of its ad: Life – Drink it in.

The ABAC deemed the ad to be inappropriate, for reasons yet to be explained.

Mitchell Taylor – third-generation managing director of Taylors Wines, multi-award-winning legend of the Clare Valley – penned a cathartic letter about the experience.

Text first appeared in mUmBRELLA 14 April, 2015

Life – Drink it in.

Mitchell Taylor
Mitchell Taylor

It seems a pretty good tagline for life, a nice message to get up and out and drink from life’s cup (responsibly of course). But I’m afraid this seemingly innocuous tagline, accompanying some beautiful imagery shot by one of the nation’s finest photographers, is simply too shocking, too provocative, too dangerous for your eyes.

You see the Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code has rejected the pre-vetting application from my family wine business to run this line ANYWHERE.

The line, “Life, Drink It In”, which would have accompanied an ad for a $200 bottle of wine, launched as The Pioneer as a tribute to my dad, is somehow not appropriate for … well, we’re not sure what for … we wouldn’t mind a logical explanation.

Taylors is a family business that has been making and marketing wines for almost 50 years. We have long supported responsible drinking, and support every code and regulation of the industry and government.

I have personally chaired the Alcohol Beverages Australia (formerly NABIC) and also sat as the Chairman of the Australia’s First Families of Wine.

We are far from radical, we are far from agitators. To suggest that this ad might promote irresponsible drinking is palpably absurd. We simply have no other words for it.

We showed ABAC the original concepts for the ad, having as always considered the issue of responsible drinking. In our wildest dreams we saw no possible objection. When the first piece of artwork was rejected we shook our collective heads but acted in accordance with protocol by lodging a robust defence of why our ad was appropriate to all aspects of the code and at the same time showcasing ads from large multinational companies we thought were not.

And for a second time, for reasons we cannot seriously comprehend, we were rejected again. It seems the evil word is “drink” but we can find many ads where the word drink is front and centre. And seriously how patronising are we going to become of our consumer? We sell a drink, an expensive delicious drink that we fully intend to be savoured with terrific food and great friends. I believe this is political correctness and the nanny state gone too far. This is an ad for a beautiful wine proudly made by an Australian family winery. What has life in Australia become if we cannot ‘drink it in’ and enjoy the experiences of this great country?

We will go back to the drawing board and come up with an alternative, less offensive tag-line. We will abide by the code, no matter how ludicrous we think its application might be.

Maybe it would have been best if I’d just shut up and said nothing. But sometimes you just HAVE to point out rules that might have just gone a bit mad. And if nothing else it feels better to have gotten it off my chest. I would love to hear your thoughts on this ruling and any other stories you may have to share.


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