Aims To review research literature and available information on the extent and impacts of marketing, current policy response and the interests engaged in the policy debate in order to inform recommendations for policy change on alcohol marketing.

Methods Relevant literature, including systematic reviews and publicly available information (websites and participant observation) is reviewed and synthesized.

Results Alcohol marketing has expanded markedly in the past 50 years and, while there remains uncertainty about the impact across the population, there is now clear evidence of its impact on the consumption of young people. Few countries have effective policy in place restricting alcohol marketing, and there is a lack of an international response to alcohol marketing which crosses national boundaries. The protection of alcohol marketing has been a major focus for vested interest groups and this has affected governmental response at national and international levels. There has been a lack of non-governmental organization engagement. The policy response to tobacco marketing provides a clear contrast to that of alcohol marketing policy and provides a model for alcohol marketing policy.

Conclusion The global exposure of young people to alcohol marketing requires an urgent policy response. The Framework Convention on Tobacco Control provides an appropriate model for global governance to control alcohol marketing. There are extant examples of national level legislation achieving comprehensive bans with France's Loi Evin providing a feasible model. Resources from philanthropic organizations to allow non-governmental organization engagement are urgently required, as is engagement by the governmental sector independent of commercial influence.

BACKGROUND: This paper describes a new multicountry collaborative project to assess the impact of alcohol control policy. Longitudinal surveys of drinkers in a number of participating countries and analysis of the policy context allow for the assessment of change over time within countries and comparison between countries. The design of the study is modeled on the International Tobacco Control study and aims to assess the impact of alcohol policies in different cultural contexts on policy-related behaviors and alcohol consumption. A survey instrument and protocol for policy analysis have been developed by the initial participating countries: England, Scotland, Thailand, South Korea, and New Zealand. The first round of data collection is scheduled for 2011-2012.

MEASUREMENTS: The survey instrument (International Alcohol Control [IAC] survey) measures key policy relevant behaviors: place and time of purchase, amounts purchased and price paid; ease of access to alcohol purchase; alcohol marketing measures; social supply; perceptions of alcohol affordability and availability and salience of price; perceptions of enforcement; people's experiences with specific alcohol restrictions; support for policy and consumption (typical quantity, frequency using beverage and location-specific measures). The Policy Analysis Protocol (PoLAP) assesses relevant aspects of the policy environment including regulation and implementation.

RESULTS: It has proved feasible to design instruments to collect detailed data on behaviors relevant to alcohol policy change and to assess the policy environment in different cultural settings.

CONCLUSIONS: In a policy arena in which the interest groups and stakeholders have different perceptions of appropriate policy responses to alcohol-related harm, a robust methodology to assess the impact of policy will contribute to the debate.

Alcohol consumption and heavy drinking in young adults have been key concerns for public health. Alcohol marketing is an important factor in contributing to negative outcomes. The rapid growth in the use of new social networking technologies raises new issues regarding alcohol marketing, as well as potential impacts on alcohol cultures more generally. Young people, for example, routinely tell and re-tell drinking stories online, share images depicting drinking, and are exposed to often intensive and novel forms of alcohol marketing. In this paper, we critically review the research literature on (a) social networking technologies and alcohol marketing and (b) online alcohol content on social networks, and then consider implications for public health knowledge and research. We conclude that social networking systems are positive and pleasurable for young people, but are likely to contribute to pro-alcohol environments and encourage drinking. However, currently research is preliminary and descriptive, and we need innovative methods and detailed in-depth studies to gain greater understanding of young people's mediated drinking cultures and commercial alcohol promotion.

 

Link to free article:

http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/09581596.2012.748883

AIMS: To compare the current status of global alcohol corporations with tobacco in terms of their role in global governance and to document the process by which this difference has been achieved and the consequences for alcohol control policy.

METHODS: Participant observation in the global political arena, review of industry materials (submissions, publications, conference presentations, websites) and review of published literature formed the basis for the current analysis.

RESULTS: Recent events in the global political arena have highlighted the difference in perception of the alcohol and tobacco industries which has allowed alcohol corporations to participate in the global governance arena in a way in which tobacco has not been able. The transnational producers of alcohol have waged a sophisticated and successful campaign during the past three decades, including sponsorship of intergovernmental events, funding of educational initiatives, research, publications and sponsoring sporting and cultural events. A key aspect has been the framing of arguments to undermine perceptions of the extent of alcohol-related harms to health by promoting ideas of a balance of benefits and harms. An emphasis on the heaviest drinkers has been used to promote the erroneous idea that 'moderate' drinkers experience no harm and a goal of alcohol policy should be to ensure they are unaffected by interventions. This leads to highly targeted interventions towards the heaviest drinkers rather than effective regulation of the alcohol market.

CONCLUSION: A sophisticated campaign by global alcohol corporations has promoted them as good corporate citizens and framed arguments with a focus on drinkers rather than the supply of alcohol. This has contributed to acceptance in the global governance arena dealing with policy development and implementation to an extent which is very different from tobacco. This approach, which obscures the contribution supply and marketing make to alcohol-related harm, has also contributed to failure by governments to adopt effective supply-side policies.

Page 10 of 13

Disclaimer

The authors have taken reasonable care in ensuring the accuracy of the information herein at the time of publication and are not responsible for any errors or omissions. Read more on our disclaimer and Privacy Policy.