CriticismScientific research, health agencies and universities have, over the decades, been able to demonstrate a correlation between alcohol beverage advertising and alcohol consumption, especially among initially non-drinking youth. However, there is an equally significant body of research positing that alcohol advertising does not ''cause'' higher consumption and rather merely reflects greater public demand, with many commentators suggesting that effective alcohol campaigns only increase a producer's market share and also brand loyalty. The alcohol industry has tried to actively mislead the public about the risk of cancer due to alcohol consumption,
Target marketingThe intended audience of the alcohol advertising campaigns have changed over the years, with some brands being specifically targeted towards a particular demographic. Some drinks are traditionally seen as a male drink, particularly
AdolescentsOne area in which the alcohol industry has faced criticism and tightened legislation is in their alleged targeting of young people. Central to this is the development of alcopops – sweet-tasting, brightly coloured drinks with names that may appeal to a younger audience. Academics have found that the main factor influencing youth consumption of alcopops was taste, and that young non-drinkers and experimental drinkers were heavily influenced by advertising. There have been several disputes over whether alcohol advertisements are targeting teens. Much alcohol advertising appears to make drinking fun and exciting. Alcohol advertisements can be commonly seen in virtually any medium, they are especially known for sponsoring sporting events, concerts, magazines, and they are widely found on the internet. Most of the vendors' websites require an age of 21 to enter, but there is no restriction besides simply entering a birth date. A study done by the American Journal of Public Health concluded that Boston train passengers between the ages of 11 and 18 saw an alcohol-related advertisement every day. There have been studies similar to this, which supports the allegation that underage consumption of alcohol is in correlation with the exposure of alcohol ads. In response, many cities have recognized the effect of alcohol-related ads on adolescents and in some cities these advertisements have been banned on public transportation. Peter Anderson and his colleagues performed longitudinal studies and concluded that "alcohol advertising and promotion increases the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol." Elizabeth D. Waiters, Andrew J. Treno, and Joel W. Grube's discussions with a sample of youth, ages 9–15, support this claim. They found that these youth saw the purpose of beer commercials is to urge people to buy the product based on not only its quality, but also on "its relationship to sexual attractiveness." They see the "attractive young adults drink beer to personally rewarding ends" and the "youth-oriented music" and are influenced to drink alcohol. The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse reports the rates of binge alcohol use in 2008 were 1.5 percent among 12 or 13 years old, 6.9 percent among 14 or 15 years old, 17.2 percent among 16 or 17 years old, 33.7 percent among persons aged 18 to 20. In 2009, the rates for each group of underage alcohol usage increased by a fourth. According to 2001 College Alcohol Study (CAS), continuous alcohol promotions and advertisements including lowering prices on certain types of alcohol on a college campus have increased the percentage of alcohol consumption of that college community. Alcohol advertising on college campuses have also shown to increase binge drinking among students. However, it is concluded that the consistency of these special promotions and ads could also be useful in reducing binge drinking and other related drinking problems on campus. (Kuo, 2000, Wechsler 2000, Greenberg 2000, Lee 2000). * Results from one study indicate that beer advertisements are a significant predictor of an adolescent's knowledge, preference, and loyalty for beer brands, as well as current drinking behavior and intentions to drink (Gentile, 2001). * Television advertising changes attitudes about drinking. Young people report more positive feelings about drinking and their own likelihood to drink after viewing alcohol ads (Austin, 1994; Grube, 1994). * The alcohol industry spends $2 billion per year on all media advertising (Strasburger, 1999). * The beer brewing industry itself spent more than $770 million on television ads and $15 million on radio ads in 2000 (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2002). Research clearly indicates that, in addition to parents and peers, alcohol advertising and marketing significantly affect youth decisions to drink. (The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth AMY. "While many factors may influence an underage person's drinking decisions, including among other things parents, peers and the media, there is reason to believe that advertising also plays a role." (Federal Trade Commission, Self-Regulation in the Alcohol Industry, 1999) Parents and peers substantially affect youth decisions to drink. However, research clearly indicates that alcohol advertising and marketing also have a significant effect by influencing youth and adult expectations and attitudes, and helping to create an environment that promotes underage drinking. Even though people these days must put themselves into that situation, David H. Jernigan (2005: 314) underlines how "more than fifteen percent of twelve-year-olds will be likely to create the situation where youth are more likely per capita to see the magazine than adults over twenty-one years, the legal drinking age in the United States".
Malt liquorThe target market for malt liquor in the United States has been among the African-American and Hispanic populations in cities. Advertisers use themes of power and sexual dominance to appeal to customers. Critics have objected to ads targeting this segment of the population, which has disproportionately high rates of alcohol-related illness and poor access to medical care.
Advertising around the worldThe World Health Organization (WHO) has specified that the advertising and promotion of alcohol needs to be controlled. In September 2005, the WHO Euro Region adopted a Framework for Alcohol Policy for the Region. This has 5 ethical principles which includes "All children and adolescents have the right to grow up in an environment protected from the negative consequences of alcohol consumption and, to the extent possible, from the promotion of alcoholic beverages". Cross-border television advertising within the
United StatesIn the United States, spirits advertising has self-regulatory bodies that create standards for the ethical advertising of alcohol. The special concern is where advertising is placed. Currently, the standard is that alcohol advertisements can only be placed in media where 71.6% of the audience is over the legal drinking age. Alcohol advertising's creative messages should not be designed to appeal to people under the age of 21, for example, using cartoon characters as spokespeople is discouraged. Advertising cannot promote brands based on alcohol content or its effects. Advertising must not encourage irresponsible drinking. Another issue in media placement is whether media vendors will accept alcohol advertising. The decision to accept an individual ad or a category of advertising is always at the discretion of the owner or publisher of a media outlet. In 1991, U.S. Surgeon General Antonia Novello criticized alcoholic beverage companies for "unabashedly targeting teenagers" with "sexual imagery, cartoons, and rock and rap music" in television and print ads. The Federal Trade Commission conducted an investigation in 2002 into possible targeting to those under the age of 21. However, this investigation and those of some scholars have not found evidence of such targeting.(FTC Says Alcohol Type Not Aimed at Minors. Los Angeles Times, 5 June 2002; Concerns exist that irresponsible advertising practices or "pushing the envelope" with audience composition may lead to permanent legislation governing the advertising of beverage alcohol.
AsiaIn Malaysia, alcohol advertising on radio and televisions was outlawed in 1995. On Malaysian television, alcohol advertising is not shown before 10:00 pm and during Malay-language programs. However, non-Malay newspapers and magazines are allowed to continue alcohol advertising. Supermarkets and hypermarkets have also been criticized for advertising alcohol products on trolleys, which is controversial because Islam is the state religion of the country. After the ban of alcohol advertising on Malaysian radio and televisions, they continued to build the brands with sponsorships of concerts and entertainment events. In Singapore, alcohol advertisement is not allowed to be shown during programmes intended for children and young persons. In
EuropeIn Russia, advertising alcohol products is banned from almost all media (including television and billboards) since January 2013. Before that, alcohol advertising was restricted from using images of people drinking since the mid-2000s. In Sweden, since 2010 advertisements are legal for wine and beer, but not on television and radio. Non-periodic magazines are allowed to advertise alcoholic beverages above 15%. These advertisements must contain warnings, but which are worded less strongly than the warnings on tobacco products - for example, " Avoid drinking while pregnant," as opposed to " smoking kills." These rules were introduced into the law 2010 based on the provisions of an EU directive, provisionally applied by Swedish newspapers since 2005. Before that alcohol advertisements were forbidden, except for "class 1 beer" or " light beer." Such advertisements were common, as stronger beers which shared a name with advertised light beers, may have benefit from this. In Finland, Parliament of Finland decided to ban alcohol outdoor advertising, except during sport events. This new law is going to take place in January 2015. In the United Kingdom, the Advertising Standards Authority have banned several ads that don't comply with the restrictions in the EU directive. In Norway, advertising for alcohol has been under a total ban since 1975. In September 2017, Facebook announced it would allow users to hide all alcohol advertisements. The move is debated within the UK, as Alcohol Research UK group welcomed the change, while the Alcohol Standards Authority said the UK already had some of the strictest rules in the world. In November 2018, Ireland introduced a law banning alcohol advertisements near schools, children play areas, public transportation, and cinemas, as well as restricting visibility of alcohol products in stores. The legislation will take effect November 2019.
AustraliaIn Australia the Alcoholic Beverages Advertising Code scheme regulates the marketing of alcohol. Advertisers need to follow a defined set of guidelines for showing alcohol advertisements on TV and radio. These ads are permitted from noon until 3 pm on school days and from 8:30 pm to 5 am every day. The ads cannot be targeted at kids and are not allowed during the broadcast of Children's (C) or Pre-school (P) classified programs on any day.
Pinkwashing drinking campaignsMany alcohol companies create campaigns to raise awareness and/or funds for a particular charity (typically through the use of a " ribbon" symbol associated with a specific condition). Companies do so through alcohol products and promotions and other marketing materials. Most ribbons are not trademarked or regulated, and thus companies are able to place the image on any product. One ribbon in particular that is recognized world-wide - the pink breast cancer ribbon - has been used by multiple alcohol companies for promotion, a practice that is known as " pinkwashing". Alcohol consumption has been linked to an increased risk of multiple types of cancer, one of which is breast cancer. It has been found that even low levels of alcohol consumption (1 drink per day) increases a woman's risk of developing breast cancer. A U.S. study in 2013 found that 15% of breast cancer deaths among women were attributable to alcohol. Due to this clear association, pinkwashed alcohol advertising has been criticized for promoting consumption of a product that contributes to the problem.Mart, S., Giesbrecht, N. and Society for the Study of Addiction. 2015. Red flags on pinkwashed drinks: contradictions and dangers in marketing alcohol to prevent cancer. Addiction 110, 1541-1548 As breast cancer is the most commonly occurring cancer for women, alcohol advertising that emphasizes funding to breast cancer societies may present the most harm to women, particularly when the amount of alcohol purchased is tied to the amount donated. Nonetheless, many alcohol companies have donated substantial amounts to various cancer charities, which undoubtedly supports important causes.
Responsible drinking campaigns"Drink responsibly" messaging began in the 1970s, and is still widely used by the alcohol industry. It is almost never used by anyone else. It has been shown to be ineffective to counterproductive; for instance, adolescents become less opposed to drunkenness when exposed to “please drink responsibly” messages. "Drink responsibly" messages are criticized by independent public-health advocates, who argue that they are designed to increase sales and avoid regulation using corporate social responsibility messaging. It has also been argued that "drink responsibly" messages shift blame for the social costs of alcohol onto individual people the industry designates as "problem drinkers" (often in poor and racialized communities, in which alcohol is disproportionately marketed), thus shifting responsibility away from the much more powerful industry promoting drinking. There are calls to replace these messages with mandatory, independently-designed and independently-tested alcohol warning labels. "Drink reponsibly" messages are very common in alcohol ads. They were found in nine in ten alcohol ads from U.S. magazines from 2008 to 2010 (where it was voluntary). Of these ads, none defined what responsible drinking was, or identified any time or circumstance when drinking alcohol would be inappropriate.Most "responsibly" messages were simply used to promote the product. Sometimes they were used in ads that showed behaviours like binge drinking., press release: In all media, "drink responsibly" ads do not define any level of drinking as "responsible", and there is rarely any reference to national reduced-risk drinking guidelines. There have also been various campaigns to help prevent alcoholism, under-age drinking and drunk driving. These include designated drivers and proof of age cards. The industry-funded ''Drink Aware'' campaign for example, tells people to avoid binge drinking. The web site address is displayed as part of all of the adverts for products made by members of the group. The Century Council, financially supported by a group of alcoholic beverage distillers in the United States, says it promotes responsible decision-making regarding drinking or non-drinking and works to reduce all forms of irresponsible consumption. Since its founding in 1991, it has invested over 175 million dollars in its programs. A controversial anti-drunk-driving advertisement in South Africa has threatened the public with rape in prison. The campaign is still underway with no reported complaints to the advertising standards authorities.
Sponsorship in sportThe sponsorship of sporting events and sportspeople by alcohol brands is banned in many countries. For example, the primary club competition in European rugby union, the Heineken Champions Cup, is called the ''H Cup'' in
GuinnessGuinness' iconic stature can be attributed in part to its advertising campaigns. One of the most notable and recognizable series of adverts was created by S.H. Benson's advertising, primarily John Gilroy, in the 1930s and 1940s. Gilroy was responsible for creating posters which included such phrases such as "Guinness for Strength", "It's a Lovely Day for a Guinness", and most famously, "Guinness is Good For You". The posters featured Gilroy's distinctive artwork and more often than not featured animals such as a kangaroo, ostrich, seal, lion, and notably a toucan, which has become as much a symbol of Guinness as the Trinity College Harp. Guinness advertising paraphernalia attracts high prices on the collectible market. In a campaign reminiscent of viral marketing techniques, one advert quickly appeared as a screensaver distributed over the
AbsolutAbsolut vodka is made in
Alcohol sponsorship in sportSport has been suggested to be one of the primary, if not the dominant, medium for the promotion of alcohol and drinking to the general population with the majority of advertising spend an advertising placement occurring in sport. Work from New Zealand and AustraliaO'Brien K.S., Miller P.G., Kolt G.S., Martens M.P., Webber A. Alcohol industry and non-alcohol industry sponsorship of sportspeople and drinking. Alcohol and Alcoholism 2011; 46: 210-13. shows that sponsorship of sports participants or athletes is associated with more hazardous drinking, with calls from the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, for bans on alcohol industry sponsorship and advertising in sport.
See also* Group Against Liquor Advertising (GALA) (in New Zealand) * Cannabis advertising
Further reading* Two articles among many are Effects of Alcohol Advertising Exposure on Drinking Among Youth, Snyder et al., Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med/ Vol 160, Jan 2006 pg. 18-24 and Exposure to Television Ads and Subsequent Adolescent Alcohol Use, Stacy et al., American Journal of Health Behavior, Nov-Dec 2004, pg. 498–509. To view the literature go to pubmed.gov and search for alcohol advertising and adolescent behavior or some iteration of this. These articles and related studies are reviewed in J.P. Nelson, "What is Learned from Longitudinal Studies of Advertising and Youth Drinking and Smoking?" International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 7(3), March 2010, pp. 870–926. Open Access: http://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/7/3/870; and J.P. Nelson, "Alcohol Marketing, Adolescent Drinking, and Publication Bias in Longitudinal Studies: A Critical Survey using Meta-Analysis," Journal of Economic Surveys, 25(2), April 2011, pp. 191–232. *27 July 2005.