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.

Reduce exposure in our homes

Much of New Zealand's drinking occurs in homes. As such, it is a key setting in which exposure to alcohol marketing and products occur. In our homes, our children may be exposed to alcohol products, alcohol-branded merchandise as well as bombarded with advertising on the TV, radio and internet.

This section guides you to take action so that exposure to alcohol products in the home is minimised and harm is reduced to our young people.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Reduce exposure in your community

Walking around your community you are likely to be exposed to some form of alcohol advertising. By taking action on alcohol advertising in your community you can reduce its harmful impact, especially in relation to young people. 

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Make a complaint about alcohol advertising / sponsorship

In New Zealand, alcohol and media companies regulate their own alcohol advertising. To do this, they have developed a Code of Practice to ensure that advertising is 'socially responsible'. You can make a  complaint should you feel that any alcohol advertisement in New Zealand breaches this Code. 

Our new liquor laws also address alcohol advertising. If you feel that an alcohol advertisment is likely to encourage excessive consumption, or the advertisement is aimed at (or has special appeal to) minors, then you can make a formal complaint to the Police.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Make a complaint about alcohol promotion within TV & radio programmes

You may be watching a television programme, or listening to a radio show, and feel that alcohol use is dominating the story. If the programme is broadcasted in New Zealand, then you can make a complaint to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Make a complaint about alcohol signage outside licensed premises

Some Council's have bylaws that relate to signage outside licensed premises. These bylaws are an important part of reducing the overall exposure to alcohol advertising in your community.

If your Council does not have a signage bylaw, you can encourage them to develop one. If you live in an area with a bylaw, it is important that you check that your local alcohol outlets comply with its rules. This section will guide you through this action.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Address alcohol advertising on public transport

It is great news that many Councils around the country are prohibiting alcohol advertisements on public transport. If your Council has not yet taken action, you can encourage them to do so.

This section will assist you in talking to your Council about the importance of public transport advertising policies and will guide you on remedying any breaches to rules which prohibit alcohol advertising.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Address alcohol sponsorship

Alcohol sponsorship is a key driver in New Zealand's drinking culture. It is seen at sports clubs, fashion festivals, music festivals, sporting events, etc. Many of New Zealand's top sporting teams are sponsored by alcohol products.

Tobacco sponsorship in New Zealand was banned in 1995 - this section guides you to take action so that the negative impact of sponsorship, particularly on our children, can be reduced.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

Change the law (includes labelling)

Many international agencies around the world recommend tougher restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship to protect young people.

Many reviews into alcohol advertising/sponsorship have been carried out in New Zealand, with the latest review in 2014 recommending laws which restrict or prohibit exposure to young people. This section guides you on taking action so that laws exist to protect our young people.

Case for change What you need to know Take Action Case Study

References - Advertising & Sponsorship

References - Advertising & Sponsorship

  1. Alcohol Action New Zealand 2009. Submission of Doug Sellman Alcohol Action New Zealand to the New Zealand Law Commission (submission dated 28 October 2009).
  2. Babor T, Holder H, Caetano R, et al. 2010. Controlling affordability: pricing and taxation. In: Babor T, Caetano R, Casswell S, et al., eds. Alcohol: No Ordinary Commodity: Research and Public Policy. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2010.
  3. Alcohol Justice. 2014. Out-of-Home Alcohol Advertising. Retreived from https://alcoholjustice.org/images/factsheets/OutofHomeAdvertising2014.pdf. [Accessed May 2015].
  4. Scott M, et al. 2008. Alcohol and tobacco marketing: evaluating compliance with outdoor advertising guidelines. American Journal of Preventative Medicine 35(3):203-209. Retrieved from http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/18692735  [Accessed May 2015].
  5. Victorian Department of Human Services for the Monitoring of Alcohol Advertising Committee. 2009. Alcohol Beverage Advertising in Mainstream Australian Media 2005 to 2007: Expenditure and Exposure.  Retrieved from http://www.nationaldrugstrategy.gov.au/internet/drugstrategy/publishing.nsf/Content/0D0A9D5EC99A25E4CA2575D6000CB37C/$File/alcadv.pdf [Accessed 21.05.2015].
  6. Kelly B, et al. 2008. The commercial food landscape: outdoor food advertising around primary schools in Australia. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health 32(6):522-528.
  7. Moore H, Jones-Webb R, Toomey T, Lenk K. Alcohol advertising on billboards, transit shelters, and bus benches in inner-city neighborhoods. Contemporary Drug Problems. 2008 Jun;35(2-3):509-32.
  8. Kwate NO, Meyer IH. Association between residential exposure to outdoor alcohol advertising and problem drinking among African American women in New York City. American Journal of Public Health. 2009 Feb;99(2):228-30.
  9. Gentry E, Poirier K, Wilkinson T, Nhean S, Nyborn J, Siegel M. Alcohol advertising at Boston subway stations: An assessment of exposure by race and socioeconomic status. American Journal of Public Health. 2011 Oct;101(10):1936-41.
  10. Pasch KE, et al. 2007. Outdoor alcohol advertising near schools: what does it advertise and how is it related to intentions and use of alcohol among young adolescents? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs 68 (4):587-596.
  11. Pasch KE, et al. 2007. Outdoor alcohol advertising near schools: what does it advertise and how is it related to intentions and use of alcohol among young adolescents? Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 68(4):587–596.
  12. Booth A, et al. 2008. The Independent Review of the Effects of Alcohol Pricing and Promotion. Summary of evidence to accompany report on Phase 1: systematic reviews. School of Health and Related Research, University of Sheffield. Retrieved from http://www.alcohollearningcentre.org.uk/_library/Resources/ALC/OtherOrganisation/Pricing_Review.pdf  [Accessed May 2015].
  13. Chambers, T., Signal, L., Carter, M. A., McConville, S., Wong, R., & Zhu, W. 2017. Alcohol sponsorship of a summer of sport: a frequency analysis of alcohol marketing during major sports events on New Zealand television. New Zealand Medical Journal, 130(1448), 27-33.
  14. O'brien, K. S., & Kypri, K. 2008. Alcohol industry sponsorship and hazardous drinking among sportspeople. Addiction, 103(12), 1961-1966.
  15. Anderson, P., Chisholm, D., & Fuhr, D. C. 2009. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies and programmes to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. The Lancet, 373(9682), 2234-2246.
  16. Wigg, S., & Stafford, L. D. 2016. Health warnings on alcoholic beverages: perceptions of the health risks and intentions towards alcohol consumption. PloS One, 11(4), e0153027.
  17. World Health Organization. 2011. First Global Ministerial Conference on Healthy Lifestyles and Noncommunicable Disease control. Moscow Declaration. Apr: 28-9. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/nmh/events/moscow_ncds_2011/en/ [Accessed October 2017].
  18. Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship. 2014. Recommendations on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship.  Retrieved from http://www.health.govt.nz/publication/ministerial-forum-alcohol-advertising [Accessed October 2017].
  19. Anderson, P., Chisholm, D., & Fuhr, D. C. 2009. Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policies and programmes to reduce the harm caused by alcohol. The Lancet, 373(9682), 2234-2246.
  20. Wigg, S., & Stafford, L. D. 2016. Health warnings on alcoholic beverages: perceptions of the health risks and intentions towards alcohol consumption. PloS One, 11(4), e0153027.
  21. Stoolmiller, M., Wills, T. A., McClure, A. C., Tanski, S. E., Worth, K. A., Gerrard, M., & Sargent, J. D. (2012). Comparing media and family predictors of alcohol use: a cohort study of US adolescents. BMJ open2(1), e000543.
  22. Nicholls J. 2012. Everyday, everywhere: alcohol marketing and social media – current trends. Alcohol & Alcoholism 47(4):486-493. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22532575 Accessed 11.06.2015.
  23. Carranza A. 2012. Alcohol and automotive industries create the most engagement on Facebook. http://www.examiner.com/article/alcohol-and-automotive-industries-create-the-most-engagement-on-facebook . Accessed 11.06.2015.
  24. Nhean S, et al. 2014. The frequency of company-sponsored alcohol brand-related sites on Facebook™ –2012. Substance use & misuse 49(7):779-782.
  25. Carah N. 2014. Like, Comment, Share – Alcohol brand activity on Facebook. FARE and University of Queensland. http://alcoholireland.ie/download/reports/alcohol_marketing/Facebook-and-alcohol-advertising-report.pdf.  Accessed 11.06.2015.
  26. Niland, P., McCreanor, T., Lyons, A. C., & Griffin, C. (2017). Alcohol marketing on social media: young adults engage with alcohol marketing on facebook. Addiction Research & Theory25(4), 273-284.
  27. Nicholls J. 2012. Everyday, everywhere: alcohol marketing and social media – current trends. Alcohol & Alcoholism 47(4):486-493. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22532575 Accessed 11.06.2015.
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  30. Siegel M, et al. 2013. Alcohol brand references in U.S. popular music, 2009–2011. Substance Use & Misuse 48(14):1475-1484.
  31. Collinson, L., Judge, L., Stanley, J., & Wilson, N. (2015). Portrayal of violence, weapons, antisocial behaviour and alcohol: study of televised music videos in New Zealand. New Zealand medical journal128(1410), 84-86.
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  33. Simon, M. (2008). Reducing youth exposure to alcohol ads: Targeting public transit. Journal of Urban Health85(4), 506-516.