Alcohol industry riding the wave of economic recession
13 July 2014
The alcohol industry has reacted on the economic recession by taking various actions. A new EUCAM trend report aims to provide insight in the marketing tactics of the alcohol industry in this period. Moreover, it describes patterns in alcohol consumption during the recession period.
This report shows that not only have the alcohol producers reacted to the recession, consumers have done so as well. For instance, consumers are less likely to go out and are less focused on purchasing brands. Instead, consumers are seeking deals and values. They are turning toward pre-drinking, and such changes in drinking patterns have in turn altered the alcohol industry’s marketing tactics through product development and value dealings.
Another clear shift both from consumers and in turn the industry, is the move from on-trade licences to off-trade licences such as supermarkets, where beer is regularly sold cheaper than sodas. Research from Ireland even suggests that alcoholic products are being sold for cheaper than the price of staple products such as water.
Other trends that are described in the report are the move towards smaller and cheaper packaging as well as that of contests to win money.
Additionally, the report shows how the industry is actively opposing effective health protective policy, such as the introduction of Minimum Unit Pricing, with a strong lobby. This lobby is also used to create the image that the brewing industry is of vital importance to the European economy.
In summary, the report shows that alcohol marketers are resilient and adaptable and choose to aggressively market products for profit rather than protect population health.
marketing-tactics-in-recession-final_1.pdf (4,11 MB)
Research suggests online alcohol marketing leads to young people drinking more, more often and at an earlier age
30 September 2013
A newly published review of currently available scientific literature shows exposure to online alcohol marketing leads to advancing the onset of alcohol consumption, increasing the amount consumed, as well as the frequency of consumption. This literature review is one of the main program points in the online conference on digital alcohol marketing, organized by EUCAM (The European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing) on the 31st of October.
Gap in the literature
It has been well established by various studies that exposure to alcohol advertising affects the drinking behaviour of young people. Empirical- and review studies supporting this have been published in peer reviewed journals [1-4] and by the Science Group of the Alcohol and Health Forum of the European Commission . However, there appears to be a gap in the literature and common knowledge when it comes to the specific measured effects of online alcohol marketing. To fill this gap, EUCAM initiated a non-systematic literature review which found 10 studies that in one way or another measured the effects of exposure to digital or online alcohol marketing on the drinking behaviour of young people.
Two studies which did not specifically identify online alcohol marketing exposure, found positive associations with drinking, despite their broad scope [6, 7].
Three studies, in which online alcohol marketing is part of a cumulative exposure measure, show a positive association between exposure to alcohol marketing and young people’s drinking behaviour [8-10].
Three studies directly measured exposure to online alcohol marketing and showed strong positive associations [11-13].
In these last three studies, effects ranged from advancing the onset of alcohol consumption, increasing the amount consumed, as well as the frequency of consumption [11-13]. One study even suggests an association with binge drinking .
One study found that the effect of online alcohol advertising was almost twice as strong as that of traditional marketing .
It’s not just commercial advertising messages: In two studies a strong association has been found between young people explicitly presenting their selves as drinkers (assuming an ‘alcohol identity’) on social network sites and harmful drinking behaviour [14, 15].
This last association exemplifies the problem of the lines being blurred between commercial advertising messages and user generated content on social media sites [14, 15].
1. McClure, A.C., et al., Alcohol Marketing Receptivity, Marketing-Specific Cognitions, and Underage Binge Drinking. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013. 37: p. E404-E413.
2. Grenard, J.L., C.W. Dent, and A.W. Stacy, Exposure to Alcohol Advertisements and Teenage Alcohol-Related Problems. Pediatrics, 2013.
3. Smith, L.A. and D.R. Foxcroft, The effect of alcohol advertising, marketing and portrayal on drinking behaviour in young people: systematic review of prospective cohort studies. BMC Public Health, 2009. 9: p. 51.
4. Siegel, M., et al., Brand-Specific Consumption of Alcohol Among Underage Youth in the United States. Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 2013: p. n/a-n/a.
5. Science Group of the European Alcohol and Health Forum. Does marketing communication impact on the volume and patterns of consumption of alcoholic beverages, especially by young people? - a review of longitudinal studies. 2009.
6. Epstein, J.A., Adolescent computer use and alcohol use: What are the role of quantity and content of computer use? Addictive Behaviors, 2011. 36(5): p. 520-522.
7. NCASA, National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVI: Teens and Parents, 2011, The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse: New York.
8. Pinsky, I., et al., Exposure of adolescents and young adults to alcohol advertising in Brazil. Journal of Public Affairs, 2010. 10(1-2): p. 50-58.
9. Gordon, R., Harris, F., Assessing the culmulative impact of alcohol marketing on young people's drinking: cross sectional data findings. not published yet, 2009.
10. Tucker, J.S., J.N.V. Miles, and E.J. D'Amico, Cross-Lagged Associations Between Substance Use-Related Media Exposure and Alcohol Use During Middle School. The Journal of adolescent health : official publication of the Society for Adolescent Medicine, 2013. 53(4): p. 460-464.
11. Lin, E.-Y., et al., Engagement with alcohol marketing and early brand allegiance in relation to early years of drinking. Addiction Research and Theory, 2012. 20(4): p. 329-338.
12. Jones, S.C. and C.A. Magee, Exposure to Alcohol Advertising and Alcohol Consumption among Australian Adolescents. Alcohol and Alcoholism, 2011. 46(5): p. 630-637.
13. Bruijn de, A., Exposure to online alcohol advertising and adolescents’ binge drinking: A cross-sectional study in four European countries, in Alcohol Policy in Europe: Evidence from AMPHORA, P. Anderson, Braddick, F., Reynolds J., Gual, A., Editor 2012, The AMPHORA Project: Barcelona. p. 56-64.
14. Ridout, B., A. Campbell, and L. Ellis, ‘Off your Face(book)’: Alcohol in online social identity construction and its relation to problem drinking in university students. Drug and Alcohol Review, 2012. 31(1): p. 20-26
15. Moreno M., C.D.A., Egan K. G., Brockman L. N., Becker T., Associations between displayed alcohol references on facebook and problem drinking among college students. Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, 2012. 166(2): p. 157-163.
effects-digital-marketing_1.pdf (256 kB)
New Fact Sheet: Testing content restrictions in self-regulation codes
10 March 2013
In 2010, the five NGOs participating in the AMMIE project selected 84 alcohol marketing practices that appeared to be in violation of existing national rules for self-regulation. We filed complaints against these practices at the national Alcohol Advertising Committees, who are to decide whether these complaints are to be upheld (or not).
The NGOs proceeded to ask five Youth Rating Panels from the participating countries to give their opinions on a selection of the complaints. In Denmark, 40 youngsters participated, in Germany 30, and in the Netherlands 37. In Italy, 57 young people were included in the first round, whereas the last group consisted of only 22 young people. In Bulgaria, 29 people took part in the first round, and in the fourth round 21 youngsters took part. Altogether, 199 young people between 12-18 years of age participated in one or more rounds. Their answers were compared to the decisions of the Advertising Code Committees.
complaints-fact-sheet-versie-2013-2b.pdf (1,50 MB)