The harm from alcohol advertising

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.

How much alcohol companies spend on alcohol

In 2009, it was estimated that approximately $200,000 was spent each day in New Zealand promoting alcohol [1].

Companies are increasingly using the internet to advertise their products. This presents many risks for our young people, as alcohol companies are increasingly using everyday consumers of their products to become promoters of their products to their friends – giving rise to the term “prosumers”.

Young people are particularly targeted via the internet and social media. Often, they are unaware of their role in promoting a product for an alcohol company.


Want to learn more about alcohol advertising in New Zealand social media?

A very useful website has been developed by New Zealand researchers to explain the role of the internet-based marketing (e.g. Facebook) of alcoholic products, called  ‘drinking cultures’.  A visit to this site is highly recommended.

Click here to download the above as a factsheet

Click here to go to the Reference page