Alcohol: Targeting and Appeal to Under 18s CAP

There is evidence that such a law would be more acceptable to the general public than other mechanisms to reduce alcohol consumption, such as restricting licensing hours. In the UK, the total annual expenditure on alcohol advertising is around £200 million, of which about £100 million is spent on television advertisements. Members of the alcohol and advertising industries argue that these alcohol advertisements do not influence levels or patterns of consumption, but serve to promote brand loyalty. The study’s analysis showed that alcohol is the most prominent substance and beverage portrayed in TV programmes watched by young people. Alcohol is frequently depicted as a normal part of the characters’ lives and social interactions. However, the effects and consequences of drinking were only shown in about 10 per cent of the drinking acts featured in the programmes analysed, and focused on either positive or extreme negative effects (e.g. laughing, alcohol dependence, violence).

alcohol ads targeting youth

This means it is a space where alcohol companies can take the opportunity to target advertising towards particular audiences. In a survey of year olds in England, 13% had engaged with alcohol marketing on social media. Young people and media professionals felt that depictions of alcohol and the reporting of celebrity drinking might influence young people’s attitudes and behaviour in two ways. Firstly, the repetition of alcohol-related content reinforces alcohol use as a cultural ‘norm’. Secondly, negative reporting of alcohol use may deter young people from drinking.

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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 eco sober house price unhealthy foods increased unhealthy snacking later on (Coates et al., 2019). A similar undesirable effect of influencers posting about alcohol is highly plausible, making it important to gain knowledge on the alcoholposts that are being posted by social influencers.

  • Consequently alcohol advertising is causally linked to earlier and riskier alcohol use among young people, with the vast majority seeing it.
  • Many adverts allude to themes such as youth culture, immoderation and social and sexual success, albeit indirectly.
  • This is in line with new legislation in some countries (e.g., Germany; Knitter, 2019) in which it is obligatory for all influencers to disclose a post as advertising if they have received a form of compensation for it.
  • Therefore, the influencers we analyzed might differ slightly from those influencers popular among minors.

Again, marketers are reminded that alcohol ads should not include elements likely to be of particular appeal to children, regardless of whether the ad is appropriately targeted. As well as targeting, advertisers need to ensure that their ads do not contain characters, pictures, wording or any other elements likely to be considered of particular appeal to children. It’s important to note that alcohol ads must not appeal particularly to children regardless of whether the ad is appropriately targeted. Helpful information on the advertising rules and examples of previously published ASA rulings based upon topics, issues and media channels. Alcohol Concern complained to the ASA that the use of celebrities and the emoticon was likely to appeal to teenagers and objected that some of the models used in the campaign appeared to be under 18 years of age. Alcohol is not part of the government’s plans to stop junk food advertising online and stop TV ads for it before 9pm in 2023, despite killing record numbers of British people in 2020.

Although underage drinking has declined somewhat in recent years, there are still an estimated 10 million people between ages 10 and 20 that do drink alcohol, according to Addiction Campuses. The only previous studies on this topic are several surveys conducted by the Advertising Standards Authority . Broadcast advertising in the UK is co-regulated by Ofcom, the television regulator, and, on a day to day basis, the ASA. The ASA’s Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice consists of representatives from the advertising and broadcast industries and they write and review the regulations.

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The challenge, therefore, is to infuse accurate depictions of alcohol use into these media where appropriate without compromising creativity and editorial independence. Partnerships between media, industry and health professionals, or tying in entertainment with carefully considered, evidence-based health promotion interventions may be a productive way forward. 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 .

  • The only previous studies on this topic are several surveys conducted by the Advertising Standards Authority .
  • Despite this evidence, we still advise future researchers to investigate in depth what the underage audience is of influencers who post alcoholposts.
  • As well as targeting, advertisers need to ensure that their ads do not contain characters, pictures, wording or any other elements likely to be considered of particular appeal to children.
  • It’s important to note that alcohol ads must not appeal particularly to children regardless of whether the ad is appropriately targeted.
  • This touches upon some practical implications, because for influencers it can be difficult how to communicate with their followers about branded content.

In Scotland there has been more progress, with licensing legislation requiring alcohol to be only placed in one section of a shop or supermarket. Some local authorities have taken local action to ban advertising in public spaces such as bus shelters. However, the self-regulatory system means that restrictions on advertising content are not actively monitored by the large regulatory organisations. https://sober-house.net/ 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. The media is important in the lives of young people, who have access to a variety of media devices and content. They encounter a range of alcohol depictions that may influence their attitudes to alcohol and their own drinking.

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Detailed studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising, the earlier they initiate drinking and the more frequently and heavily they drink. Compared with the influence of friends, young people’s total media usage and celebrity behaviour did not seem to have a direct influence on their drinking. Many young people had a good insight into how alcohol is represented in the media, and why it is represented in particular ways. Hence, in terms of prevention and education policy, inserting simplistic messages about alcohol harm and accurate images of celebrity intoxication into youth media is likely to be ineffective. Statistical analysis of survey data showed that young people’s exposure to media coverage of alcohol usage and their attachment to celebrities (and alcohol-drinking celebrities in particular) were not important risk factors for their own alcohol consumption. Instead, estimates of their friends’ drinking and the perceived acceptability of drinking by friends were found to be much better predictors.

Find out the latest guidance to keep your health risks from alcohol to a low level. This report presents the findings from a major study of young people and their relationship with alcohol, and explores the wide range of influences on their drinking. Social networking sites formed part of young people’s drinking culture, documenting nights out but also informally ‘marketing’ alcohol products to their peers.

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An analysis of the role of the Portman Group in alcohol industry self-regulation. As well as encouraging sales, marketing also has the effect of normalising drinking, and associating alcohol in people’s minds with desirable or pleasant experiences. A cross-cultural comparison of the processes underlying the associations between sharing of and exposure to alcohol references and drinking intentions. 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. It was coded whether such a brand post had a disclosure of sponsored content (no/yes) and if so, what this disclosure involved (e.g., “#ad”). It was indicated whether the alcoholpost clearly (i.e., full brand name, recognizable logo, or brand name in header or tag visible) showed an alcohol brand, and if so which one.

The views of media professionals on the production of alcohol-related content and the potential role of the media in health promotion regarding alcohol use. And the researchers found exposure to tobacco and alcohol advertising and teen knowledge, attitudes, initiation, and continued use of the products are extraordinarily similar. Alcohol marketing in the UK is informally overseen by the alcohol and advertising industries themselves, and in special cases Ofcom, a government body. Another 57% of the 12,000 surveyed support a ban on alcohol advertising in public spaces such as streets, parks and on public transport. Parents have little control of the messages their children see outside the house. Over three-quarters of Brits want laws to limit the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising amid record alcohol deaths across the country.

alcohol ads targeting youth

Furthermore, marketing communications should not appear in a medium if 25% or more of the audience is under 18; so teen magazines or social media feeds aimed at children and the like are problematic mediums. This analysis found that advertisements were designed to explicitly target many prohibited themes, particularly relating to immoderate consumption and social and sexual success, as well as targeting drinkers under 18 years of age. The author of this analysis argued that current regulations focus on content, which requires regulators to make judgments about concepts such as ‘social success’ or ‘masculinity’ that are open to multiple and contested interpretations. Consequently, it is difficult for regulators to pin down the subtle emotional associations present in modern advertising as indicating the use of such concepts which would be in breach of the BCAP Code. Yet a study of over 350 adults has shown that most members of the public believe alcohol advertising on television breaches the rules. This leads us to the clear conclusion that the current regulatory system for advertising alcohol on UK television is inadequate.

The online campaign, created by The Leith Agency, featured a blog entry entitled “raspberry heat wave” and referenced ‘The X Factor’ stars Cheryl Cole, Nicole Scherzinger and Leona Lewis. Blog posts give the views of the author, and are not necessarily those of The University of Manchester. Read our Editorial Policy and then do get in touch to discuss your idea. 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.

They rejected simplistic messages and understood that celebrity behaviour, including drinking, is largely constructed by editors and publicists to ‘tell a story’ and sell products. Parents’ and friends’ attitudes and behaviours were better predictors of young people’s alcohol use. Celebrity behaviour was unlikely to influence alcohol consumption directly.

If it is indeed the case that influencers advertise for alcohol brands , then this suggests that the alcohol industry has found a way to circumvent legislation and reach minors . Although some suggest that internet age filters or entry pages are good ways of limiting exposure to underage alcohol marketing, evidence suggests that these filters do not work effectively and still allow minors to see alcohol ads (Jones et al., 2014). This stresses the need for new legislation that also incorporates the complicated new world of social media. The goal of this study was therefore to investigate influencers’ alcoholposts on one of the most popular social media, i.e., Instagram.

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). This touches upon some practical implications, because for influencers it can be difficult how to communicate with their followers about branded content. A potential solution would be to stimulate (e.g., potentially reinforced by Instagram itself) every influencer who is being paid in one way or another for a post to disclose this clearly in that post. This is in line with new legislation in some countries (e.g., Germany; Knitter, 2019) in which it is obligatory for all influencers to disclose a post as advertising if they have received a form of compensation for it.

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