Alcohol advertising and dark markets

While a Drinkaware warning at the end of the ad is not required by the BCAP Code, the advertiser may have made a commitment to including this information. On that basis we won’t advise that ads be amended to include or delete this line and we support and encourage the inclusion of these messages. Copy must not include any personality who has a particular appeal to under 18s.

alcohol advertising

The need to gain insight in influencers’ display of alcoholposts is increased even further because in many countries regulations state that alcohol advertising is not to target minors. This is even more disturbing because research shows that influencer marketing elicits less resistance to the ad message than traditional advertisements do (de Vries et al., 2012). The goal of this study was therefore to investigate influencers’ alcoholposts on one of the most popular social media, i.e., Instagram. Four main results were found in a first study among students (18–25 years). First, the majority of influencers (i.e., 63.5%) posted about alcohol recently. Second, these alcoholposts were mostly posted by lifestyle influencers, were positive, and showed a social context.

Should Alcohol Advertising be Banned From TV?

However, as someone who doesn’t drink and has not seen English TV for years, the shameless advertising by retailers and drinks companies comes as quite a shock. Social media platforms collect massive amounts of data points on children and young people, enabling companies to develop intimate insights into their lives to target them with marketing. This targeted advertising is integrated with on-demand digital retail, with which we can get alcohol delivered into our homes in under an hour. Most of the alcohol ads we see on digital platforms have “buy” and “shop now” buttons. Digital advertisements have become the fridge door at the bottle shops or bars. It was coded whether such a brand post had an educational slogan (i.e., “no 18, no alcohol”), that is advised by the Dutch Foundation for Responsible Alcohol Consumption.

Care should be taken not to exploit the young, the immature or those who are mentally or socially vulnerable. Helpful information on the advertising rules and examples of previously published ASA rulings based upon topics, issues and media channels. Selling wine in larger-sized wine glasses may encourage people to drink more, even when the amount of wine served remains the same.

  • In this set of bar studies, we found that increasing the size of wine glasses led to an almost 10% increase in wine sales for some comparisons between smaller and larger glasses.
  • The ASA’s Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice consists of representatives from the advertising and broadcast industries and they write and review the regulations.
  • This study looked at how increasing the price of non-alcoholic drinks could influence purchases of alcoholic drinks, such as beer, wine and cider, in supermarkets.
  • Issues are only retrospectively addressed if and when an advert or label is reported to the regulator, by which time it may not be in circulation anymore.
  • And, it’s not just the drinks industry who would feel the effects but also the media companies.

The consumption of alcohol may be portrayed as sociable or thirst-quenching. We examined consumers’ perceptions of strength (%ABV) and appeal of alcohol products using low/high verbal descriptors. Products labelled with verbal descriptors denoting lower alcohol strength had less appeal than Regular strength products. What are the perceived target groups and occasions for wines and beers labelled with verbal and numerical descriptors of lower alcohol strength?

Infographic – Do’s and Don’ts on advertising of alcoholic beverages in Italy

This is where indirect references to brands through the use of colours, fonts and slogans are used – most noticeably seen sports sponsorship. A study of the 2016 UEFA tournament found that 123 instances of alcohol eco sober house boston marketing on average in each match broadcast, with 91% of these being alibi marketing. When those who are vulnerable, such as children and people in recovery, are exposed to marketing, it can also increase harm.

Alcohol brands increased their spending on digital media from 21% of their budgets in 2019 to 24% last year. Marketing communications must not imply that a drink may be preferred because of its alcohol content or intoxicating effect. However, low-alcohol drinks may be presented as preferable because of their low alcoholic strength, provided that the alcohol content of the drink is stated clearly in the marketing communication. Marketing communications must not imply that drinking alcohol is a key component of the success of a personal relationship or social event.

A ban on alcohol sponsorship of events aimed at children, events at which most participants, or competitors, are children. A complete prohibition on alcohol advertising at events aimed particularly at children, or at events in which most participants, or competitors, are children. A prohibition on alcohol advertising in or on a sports area during a sporting event; though alcohol branding may be used on players’ clothing. They also want to introduce health warnings on labels, they want to stop any form of advertising at sporting events and crucially tighter restrictions on when and how alcohol can be advertised in the media.

Alcohol companies market their products in order to increase sales, whether through reaching more customers or getting existing customers to purchase more. Research has found that alcohol companies are often reliant on heavy drinkers for their profits and will target their advertising towards younger drinkers to encourage them to become the “heavy-using loyalists of tomorrow”. In 2013, Russia prohibited alcohol advertising on television, radio, print, the internet, public transport and billboards, in an attempt to tackle what is being described as the nation’s drink problem. Zenith estimates a 9.2% annual growth in digital ad spend between 2019 and 2023, when online advertising will account for 30% of alcohol brands’ marketing budgets.

Despite this evidence, we still advise future researchers to investigate in depth what the underage audience is of influencers who post alcoholposts. Although this is a challenging and cumbersome task, this is essential to understand the full exposure of minors to alcohol content posted by influencers. A last interesting finding was that disclosures were related to likes and comments. That is, we found that if influencers disclosed that they advertised for an alcohol brand this was related to fewer likes and comments than when they did not give such a disclosure . This is in line with studies that suggest that people can become negative toward the origin of a message (e.g., the influencer) if they see a sponsorship disclosure (e.g., Boerman et al., 2015).

Blog posts give the views of the author, and are not necessarily those of The University of Manchester. Receive our latest content and timely updates by subscribing to our RSS feed. Second, the findings are inconsistent with comparable international studies. Third, there is a conflict of interest in a regulator being asked to assess the success of its own regulatory system.

Therefore, because there is a direct correlation between advertising and consumption, the government worries that it would lose money on duty if alcohol adverts were banned on TV. However, the answer would be to raise taxes on alcohol just as they did with tobacco, which is also seen as a positive move among health professionals towards reducing the overall consumption of alcohol. The alcohol industry spends hundreds of millions of pounds every year on marketing their products. Although alcohol companies claim only to advertise to adults, the existing advertising codes are so weak that young people are regularly exposed to alcohol marketing which they find appealing.

More than a quarter of Scots are drinking at levels that bring increased risk to their health, the charity says, citing research linking exposure to alcohol marketing with consumption. A report from Alcohol Focus Scotland and a group of international experts have said the high visibility of alcohol advertising means people are “constantly bombarded with positive messages” about the effects of drinking. An analysis was conducted of internal marketing documents from four major alcohol producers relating to four alcohol brands in the UK.

It is interesting that these seemingly inherent characteristics of alcoholposts on social media are similar for peer-to-peer posts as for influencers’ posts. This may suggest that posts by peers are actually quite similar to posts by influencers, thereby increasing feelings of similarity between the “normal” social media users and those of celebrity status. Public health researchers have developed a solid evidence base about the harmful effects of advertising on young people. Research shows that children’s exposure to marketing by alcohol companies increases the likelihood that they will start drinking alcohol earlier and drink at risky levels. Research has similarly found engagement with digital alcohol marketing to increase dangerous alcohol use.

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I agree with you, the advertising must be stopped, the same as the tobacco industry had to stop. It made an impact and I believe stopping the advertising of alcohol will make an impact as well. We have an organization here in the states “Mothers Against Drunk Drivers” or “MADD” in short.

  • Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol might be indispensable or take priority in life or that drinking alcohol can overcome boredom, loneliness or other problems.
  • Some of the largest sponsors of football are alcohol producers, prompting a debate about the ethical acceptability of alcohol advertising in the sport.
  • This targeted advertising is integrated with on-demand digital retail, with which we can get alcohol delivered into our homes in under an hour.
  • This is one way markets with restrictions get around the laws, by advertising their alcohol-free products they get the name of the company out there.

Alcohol adverts must not be seen to have a certain effect on people such as to boost confidence, make individuals more attractive or suggest sex appeal. Adverts shouldn’t imply that alcohol can improve boredom or loneliness or have the effect of changing a person’s mood or behaviour. Extra care must also be taken to ensure that marketers do not work with celebrities or creators who appeal to younger people which surely must mean that whenever alcohol brands are featured as supporting sports events they are breaching this voluntary code of conduct. Furthermore, it was coded what type of alcoholic drink was shown (e.g., beer; wine; spirits; cocktails; 0% alcohol) and how many likes and comments a post received. Pregnant women, sportspeople and those aged 6-13 years old were perceived as the target groups for products labelled with 0%ABV or the verbal descriptors Low or Super Low. Men, women, and those aged above 18 were perceived as the target groups for products labelled with higher %ABV.

This is concerning because there is strong evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing leads young people to drink more, and to drink at an earlier age. Zenith said alcohol brands have typically been slow when it comes to digital advertising, with companies spending less than half of their budgets than the average brand in 2020. These rules are not intended to inhibit responsible marketing communications that are intended to counter problem drinking or tell consumers about alcohol-related health or safety themes. Those marketing communications should not be likely to promote an alcohol product or brand. The rules in this section apply to marketing communications for alcoholic drinks and marketing communications that feature or refer to alcoholic drinks, including where a soft drink is promoted as a mixer.

People under 25 may be shown in marketing communications, for example, in the context of family celebrations, but must be obviously not drinking. Marketing communications must not link alcohol with the use of potentially dangerous machinery or driving. Marketing communications may feature sporting and other physical activities (subject to other rules in this section; for example, appeal to under-18s or link with daring or aggression) but must not imply that those activities have been undertaken after the consumption of alcohol. Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol might be indispensable or take priority in life or that drinking alcohol can overcome boredom, loneliness or other problems. Marketing communications must neither show, imply, encourage or refer to aggression or unruly, irresponsible or anti-social behaviour nor link alcohol with brave, tough or daring people or behaviour. Marketing communications must be socially responsible and must contain nothing that is likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that are unwise.

The risks to our health because of drinking are far more serious than those caused by smoking. Then the platform develops “look-alike” audiences of potential new customers who have similar characteristics to the alcohol companies’ most valuable existing customers . They then target this audience with advertisements for the alcohol company. To ensure the content of the ads is most likely to resonate with a person, “dynamic” ads are used, tailoring the sales promotion, price and product in the ad automatically based on a person’s previous searches, shopping and browsing activities. Direct or indirect advertising of alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages is expressly forbidden in places frequented mainly by minors under 18 years of age and radio and television advertising of non-alcoholic beverages during the period from 4 pm to 7 pm.

Madrí Excepcional “Door roja” by Havas London

Marketing communications must not imply that alcohol can enhance mental or physical capabilities; for example, by contributing to professional or sporting achievements. Marketing communications must neither link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success nor imply that alcohol can enhance attractiveness. Click on the images below to find out more about the work we have been doing in this area. The Cork-based company noted that a contravention of the new restrictions is an offence for which there are severe penalties, including a fine of up to €250,000 and / or up to three years imprisonment.

  • In fact, it has been shown that more than one-third of 14–17 year olds look deliberatively for influencer accounts when they are looking for product information .
  • However, even with this law, there are ways for the alcohol industry to circumvent the rules through ‘alibi marketing’.
  • Another problem is that most of our regulatory and policy frameworks are built on the assumption that marketing can be monitored – that it is accountable to independent scrutiny.

This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License . The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author and the copyright owner are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms. The datasets generated for this study are available on request to the corresponding author. The editor and reviewer’s affiliations are the latest provided on their Loop research profiles and may not reflect their situation at the time of review.

The Present Study

Given the potential strong impact influencers might have, it is important to understand their portrayal of alcoholposts on social media. In addition, influencers are very popular among children and many influencers have minors as followers . In fact, it has been shown that more than one-third of 14–17 year olds look deliberatively for influencer accounts when they are looking eco sober house rating for product information . By seeing alcoholposts from influencers, these minors might be encouraged to start drinking, or if they already drink, to consume more alcohol. In the context of unhealthy foods, recent evidence indeed suggests that children’s exposure to Instagram influencers eating unhealthy foods increased unhealthy snacking later on (Coates et al., 2019).

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