AFL’s Melbourne Football Club (MFC) has countered one of its most honourable moments with a long, hard shot of hypocrisy. Just a few weeks after announcing it is cutting ties with gambling because “it’s time to get back to loving the game for what it is1”, MFC has cut a partnership deal with Diageo-owned Johnny Walker for its team, the Demons.
Let’s take a look at what that means:
- Now your children can look up to Demons players like Nathan Jones, Daisy Pearce and Dom Tyson and think ‘sponsored by Johnny Walker’ instead of ‘gambling’.
- Johnny will cover every surface and shred of material it possibly can with its brand so that the Club can give back to the community to “enhance and support healthy lifestyles and community spirit (pardon the pun no doubt!)”2
- If you’re watching from home, your children can smile up at the TV and watch ad after ad of Johnny throughout every break. Part of the $15m marketing campaign spend saw Johnny Walker become an official broadcast partner with Channel 73.
But wait! There’s more!
Parents who give hand over fist to attend the club’s iconic Foundation Heroes Fundraising Dinner won’t be getting a set of steak knives, they will instead receive these unique opportunities to expose their children to the harmful impacts of alcohol advertising before they’ve even turned 18:
- “Priority access to the Clubs Work Experience program for family members (students aged 15-18)” and
- “Priority to junior Guard of Honour on match day ”4
The news from MFC is a mighty blow. Instead of further progressing its efforts to have a positive influence on the community, MFC have taken a mighty step backwards and it’s our Aussie kids who will ultimately suffer.
Johnny Walker should just Keep on Walking!