ABAC Pre-Vetting Service
Lodge a pre-vetting application here
The ABAC Pre-vetting Service provides confidential advice to alcohol marketers on whether proposed alcohol marketing communications (including packaging) comply with the ABAC Code. The service is offered on a 'user pays' basis.
Pre-vetters approve, reject or suggest modification to material submitted to them for pre-vetting.
Pre-vetting approval provides some level of assurance, but no guarantee, against the possibility (and costs) of products or marketing being later ordered out of the marketplace – via the independent ABAC complaint processes. The assessment of proposed material against any standards, including the ABAC will necessarily involve a subjective judgment by an individual pre-vetter and as such the ABAC Adjudication Panel may occasionally have a different view and uphold a complaint against material which has been pre-vetted.
To encourage the frank exchange of views within the Service, any opinion expressed by a pre-vetter in respect to a matter which is submitted for pre-vetting is confidential to the advertising agency/advertiser, the pre-vetters, ABAC executive officer and the representative of their respective industry association (if any).
The ABAC Pre-vetting Service is available to any alcohol marketer (signatory or non-signatory) and everyone who uses the service must be familiar with the ABAC Pre-vetting Service Guide and ABAC Rules & Procedures. For example, ABAC signatories are committed to pre-vetting all of their television, radio, cinema and outdoor marketing.
Lodging an ABAC Pre-vetting Request
ABAC has a new system for the lodgement and management of pre-vetting requests. Different processes apply for ABAC signatories and non-signatories. If you are unsure whether your request is for an ABAC signatory or non-signatory, please refer to the list of ABAC signatories available here.
Please familiarise yourself with the relevant Guide before accessing the pre-vetting system.
Once you have lodged a pre-vetting request, you will be notified by email of your allocated pre-vetter and their contact details. Whilst pre-vetters endeavour to have applications completed in less than 4 working days, sometimes this may not be possible and if you require turnaround in less than 4 business days telephone your pre-vetter to request earlier completion. Meetings can be arranged to present materials.
The ABAC Pre-vetting Service operates during normal business hours. We understand that occasionally pre-vetting may be required outside these hours but we ask that contact outside business hours only occurs in case of a genuine emergency. If it is anticipated that out of hours contact is necessary we ask that this is discussed prior with your allocated pre-vetter.
Alcohol marketers and their agencies are encouraged to lodge a pre-vetting request at an early stage of development to identify possible problems before significant expense is incurred.
ABAC Pre-vetting fees
The ABAC Pre-vetting Service is a user pays service. Pre-vetting services are charged at $135 per half hour for signatories and $220 per half hour for non-signatories (exclusive of GST) plus disbursements at cost. Non-signatories will be required to pay the minimum fee up front at the time of lodging their application.
ABAC Pre-vetting Approval
If a pre-vetting application (or part of an application) is approved, the marketer will be provided with an approval certificate.
Approval is only given for material to appear in the particular media nominated by the marketer on the pre-vetting application form. If the material is to subsequently appear in different media, it must be re-submitted for approval for the new media.
Approval is given on the basis of the material submitted and it is the responsibility of the agency to re-submit if there are material alterations. Any proposed revisions to existing approved marketing, including packaging, must be discussed with the original pre-vetter as to whether it needs to be re-submitted for approval as the revisions can materially change the marketing communication . These revisions include, but are not limited to, editing a TV or radio ad to a longer or shorter version of the ad or changing a headline or image in a print or outdoor advertisement.
If a marketing communication is rejected the pre-vetter will advise the applicant and provide their reasons for rejecting the material. If a marketer is dissatisfied with a pre-vetting decision they are encouraged to initially discuss the decision with the pre-vetter. An advertiser may then request a review of a pre-vetting decision or choose to revise and resubmit the material.
Review of a Pre-vetting decision
A marketer may request a review an ABAC pre-vetting decision by logging into the online pre-vetting system and, selecting 'Request Pre-vetting Decision Review’.
A review request is referred by the ABAC Executive Officer to two pre-vetters that did not make the decision that is to be reviewed (Pre-vetting Review Panel). The Pre-vetting Review Panel will consider the materials in consultation with one another but independently of the original pre-vetter.
If the Pre-vetting Review Panel:
- unanimously agrees with the decision, the original pre-vetter is directed to maintain the rejection;
- unanimously disagrees with the decision, the original pre-vetter is directed to issue an approval;
- makes a split decision, the original pre-vetter is directed to maintain the rejection.
The cost of a review will be a flat fee of $500.00. If the decision to be reviewed is complex or involves a large amount of advertising material an additional fee may be charged, however this will be discussed with the marketer after receipt of the review request and prior to the review being conducted.
Ross has been an ABAC pre-vetter since 2014. He has over 40 years experience in the advertising industry developing and implementing marketing communications programs for clients of major multi-national advertising agencies in Australia, UK, New Zealand and Asia. He specialised in FMCG clients including P&G, Unilever, Coca-Cola and Mars. Ross has held various positions in his advertising career, Managing Director, Client Services Director and Group Account Director.
In the 1990s he developed and facilitated the first account management courses for the Advertising Federation of Australia AdSchool (now Advertising Council Australia). In the past 10 years he has been facilitating leadership development programs for a wide range of public and private sector organisations and consults to SMEs in the market research and graphic design sectors.
With over 20 years of marketing, sales and management experience across multiple industries and channels, both in Australia and overseas, Melinda joined ABAC in 2019 as a Pre-vetter.
Melinda started her career in Account Management at a full-service Agency supporting several Global brands before moving to the client-side, where she spent more than a decade at worldwide beauty leader L'Oreal in the USA and Australia, in a variety of Senior Marketing and General Management roles. Most recently, Melinda was the Global Marketing & Sales Director at Grown Alchemist and now focusses her time on her ABAC role, together with consulting to various companies on Marketing & Sales Strategy.
Sally has over 20 years’ experience in the Advertising industry, across multiple brands and sectors. Sally started her career at Bates, London, learning the rigours of account management in the Banking, Retail and FMCG categories. On emigrating to Australia, Sally was appointed to senior account management roles at DMB&B WMO and TBWA Sydney, where she was a member of the Management Board. Sally became a Founding Partner at OIL, Sydney, an independent, creative agency that attracted a blue-chip client portfolio and a range of industry awards.
Sally has a Master of Business (Marketing) and now combines brand consulting with teaching at UTS Business School. Sally joined ABAC as a Pre-Vetter in 2022.