Home > Assessment of young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing in audiovisual and online media.

Winpenny, Eleanor and Patil, Sunil and Elliot, Marc and Villalba van Dijk, Lidia and Hinrichs, Saba and Marteau, Theresa and Nolte, Ellen (2012) Assessment of young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing in audiovisual and online media. Cambridge: Rand Europe.

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Alcohol use among young people, and adolescents in particular, is an increasing concern in Europe. Children and adolescents have greater vulnerability to alcohol than adults and there is increasing evidence of the impact of drinking on young people’s health, both short and long term, including the increased likelihood of being in a risky situation when drunk.

There are many factors that may encourage alcohol use among young people, and alcohol marketing has been identified as one potential influence. Evidence strongly suggests that alcohol advertising will increase the likelihood that adolescents will start to drink alcohol at a young age and may increase alcohol use among those who already consume alcohol. It is against this background that the European Commission Health and Consumer Directorate-General (DG SANCO), by way of the EAHC, has commissioned RAND Europe to carry out an assessment of young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing through television and online media. The overall aim of the work presented in this report was to use novel approaches to measure alcohol advertisement exposure among young people in Europe through audiovisual and online media.

Our analyses used a range of methods. First, to assess young people’s exposure to alcohol marketing in television, we used commercially available data on television audiences (‘viewership’) and on alcohol advertising in the UK, the Netherlands and Germany. We applied descriptive statistics and regression analysis to estimate the exposure of young people to alcohol advertising compared with that of adults. Second, we analysed alcohol advertising portrayals of a sample of alcohol adverts broadcast in each of the three countries to better understand the extent to which advertisements are using elements that have been identified as appealing to young people. In a third step, we assessed the extent to which alcohol portrayals in these adverts adhere to national statutory or voluntary codes on (alcohol) advertising in each country, and with policies developed by alcohol manufacturers themselves. Fourth, we explored exposure to alcohol marketing in online media, here focusing on the UK. We examined data on online media channels accessed by young people, described the main types of social media marketing messages for alcoholic beverages, and assessed the use of age gates to restrict content to those over the legal drinking age.

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