Hardest Drink Of 2023, Hard Solo, Should’ve Tried Harder In Not Marketing To Minors, Finds ABAC

Hard Solo has received some hard news from the Australian Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC), who have determined it crossed a line in marketing standards due to how much the product appealed to minors. Time to pour one out à la Tom GleesonHARD!

Earlier this year, the new alcoholic beverage Hard Solo made the centre of attention, at news and barbecues alike, for taking the classic Aussie soft drink everyone knew and adding booze to it.

But in an ironic twist, the success of being related to such an iconic existing product seems to have also been its downfall, as the ABAC have judged that Hard Solo has a “strong or evident appeal to minors”.

Side by side comparison of Hard Solo with the original soft drink Solo. Credit: Hard Solo.

When it was released the drink caused a media storm, with people loudly championing it as the drink of the summer, and others criticising it for its apparently obvious attempt to attract underage drinkers.

Aussie TikTokers like @Russ.Eats gave it their full support, claiming that it taste “exactly the same” as a standard Solo, just alcoholic.

@russ.eats HARD SOLO Review #russeats #fyp #food #foodie #foryou #review #foodreview #junkfood #aussie #australia #solo #pepsi #hardsolo ♬ original sound – Russ.Eats™️

However other members of the public as well as politicians accused the beverage of being deliberately enticing to minors, and made a formal complaint to the ABAC — which used the above TikTok as evidence of their case.

“This is a product that looks like a soft drink, tastes like a soft drink, has the same name as a soft drink, went through a self-regulatory process and seemingly was approved to be marketed,” slammed independent MP Kylea Tink.

Some complaints from members of the public came from concerned parents who were worried their kids would be attracted to the product’s marketing: “Hard Solo looks like a drink, Solo, that is consumed by minors. It’s hard to think why they would think that this is OK in 2023.”

There was also this one hilarious complaint pointing out a — more lateral — reason why youngsters might have been keen for a sip of the adults-only beverage: “Sounds a bit like Han Solo, which is a Star Wars character.”

Hardest spot the difference ever.

Now after a month deliberation, ABAC’s decision has been formalised with them declaring that the drink was in breach of the advertising code.

“The recognition and familiarity of the Solo branding on the packaging creates an illusion of a smooth transition from a non-alcoholic to alcoholic beverage for minors,” ruled ABAC.

A week after the judgement was delivered the manufacturers of Hard Solo, Carlton and United Breweries (CUB), have stated that they are “disappointed with the outcome” but will respect the call and will rebrand to ‘Hard Rated’.

Hard Rated will taste the same as the Bev-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, and will be on shelves by February 9 next year.