Recent developments in intervention research: Regulation of alcohol promotion

First published: 10 May 2019 | Last updated: 09 October 2020

Global alcohol marketing has expanded markedly in recent years reflecting increased industry resources, developments into newly emerging markets and new modes and opportunities for marketing, particularly among younger people. Research has shown effects of advertising, especially ads in the broadcast media where exposure is well measured and the effect of different content has been demonstrated. Recent research has begun to document the nature and impacts of a range of marketing promotions (such as branded merchandise and give-aways, in store promotions and product placement), which have been largely unmeasured and un-researched. Much marketing is multi faceted and multi media and some of the newer electronic technologies which are being utilised in media campaigns remain less visible in research and policy discussions.

Policy on alcohol marketing is relatively undeveloped. Voluntary codes, which are widely promoted by the economic operators, are usually on content, sometimes exposure, and are usually applied to advertising in traditional media (broadcast, print, billboards).  They are administered by the vested interests concerned and have been shown to be under-interpreted and under-enforced. The advertising allowed under these voluntary codes has been found, using a range of methodologies, to increase: beliefs about the social benefits from drinking, prevalence of drinking, intentions to drink and levels of drinking among young people. Regulation has been adopted in a few jurisdictions and has withstood legal challenges with the Loi Evin providing a useful model.  New approaches to monitoring and regulation will be required to make visible and to counter the additional marketing opportunities new technologies and youth culture provide to the global alcohol corporations.


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Professor Sally Casswell