Advertising often displays drinking as a positive, glamorous or sexy activity, promoting feelings of togetherness, relaxation and fun. It contributes to the maintenance of existing drinking norms in society and promotes positive attitudes to drinking.
By presenting the perception that drinking is a harmless activity, it ignores the reality of the range of harms which alcohol causes in our country.
International evidence has found that exposure to alcohol advertising [2, 3]:
- Increases the likelihood that adolescents will take up drinking at an early age
- Increases the likelihood that adolescents will consume high amounts of alcohol in a drinking occasion
- Makes it more difficult for individuals wishing to quit or cut back their drinking
- Prevents health promotion messages from being more effective.
Alcohol companies use a variety of marketing strategies to increase immediate as well as future demand for their products, including:
- Designing their products (e.g. labelling, packaging) to have appeal (e.g. RTDs)
- Advertising or promoting their products at places where present and future drinkers will be exposed (e.g. Facebook, sponsorship within televised sports matches, music gigs, sports clubs, etc.)
- Offering their product at a low retail price
- Offering promotional discounts from the normal retail price
Advertising and alcohol sponsorship are key drivers in our drinking culture, particularly among young people.
Every marketing aspect - from the design of the product through to its point of sale - are deliberately planned and often very sophisticated. Increasingly, alcohol companies are investing more in novel forms of advertising (e.g. social media) and allocating smaller proportions of their marketing budgets to traditional or mainstream forms of advertising.
Because there are thousands of alcohol products available for sale, the potential to be exposed to any form of alcohol marketing is great. Every day and week it all adds up to living in an environment saturated with alcohol marketing, in particular through advertising and promotion. This is one reason that alcohol has attained such a significant presence in our society.
This section deals only with the advertising of alcohol products, including sponsorship. To read more about promotions of alcohol (e.g offering free alcohol, discounts, etc) and exposure to alcohol in supermarkets, click on the links provided.