Australia: DryJuly Collaborates With Big Alcohol
The DryJuly collaboration with Big Alcohol is drawing an outcry by public health experts.
DryJuly challenges individuals to go alcohol free for a month. Recently, the Woolworths-owned BWS liquor chain announced it was teaming up with the foundation behind DryJuly. According to BWS the partnership is to raise funds for the charity and promote its low- and no-alcohol products to participants. Many of the charities funded through DryJuly are cancer charities.
Michael Thorn, chief executive of the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) has dismissed the move as a “cynical marketing exercise” considering the obvious link between alcohol and cancer.
It is inappropriate to have one group that sells cancer-causing alcoholic beverages 365 days a year partnering with the other group that fundraises to support the victims of alcohol harm,” said Michael Thorn, chief executive of FARE as per ABC News.
DryJuly is however defending their move, claiming the partnership will raise more funds and awareness.
Public health bodies condemn the move
Many public health bodies are condemning the collaboration. They have called for the partnership to be dissolved.
According to Mr. Thorn the promotion of low- and no-alcohol products was simply another way for the alcohol industry to promote its brands more broadly. He stated Australians “don’t accept” the endorsement of tobacco companies for health initiatives, and that the alcohol industry should be no different.
Brand loyalty, is in fact one of the marketing strategies used by Big Alcohol in retaining their customers and influencing youth to use alcohol.
DryJuly Foundation CEO and co-founder Brett Macdonald defended the partnership with BWS. He said DryJuly consulted with its major cancer charity beneficiaries, including the Cancer Council of Australia, prior to confirming the partnership.
While all charities need to raise money, it is important to keep the core message clear. As Dr. Slevin said cancer charities must demonstrate that their primary focus is on reducing the burden of cancer — whether that’s reducing the burden on people who have the disease, or reducing the prospect of people getting the disease in the first place.
FARE has written to the same beneficiary organisations urging them to intervene.