EUCAM - European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing

Unethical marketing? Alcohol producers sponsor fight against breast cancer.

20 June 2008

Unethical marketing? Alcohol producers sponsor fight against breast cancer. An increasing number of alcohol producers promote their brand by sponsoring the fight against breast cancer. This can be seen as unethical marketing, since alcohol is a risk factor in the development of breast cancer.

A cross-European marketing strategy of alcohol producers?

Cult, a company in Denmark sponsors a foundation named Cult Fonden which fights against breast cancer. Cults is not only known for this foundation and their energy drinks, but also for their beer. The name Cults can be seen as alcohol advertising in itself.

A producer sponsoring the fight against breast cancer is not unique. In October 2007, the Dutch brewer Heineken sponsored the foundation Pink Ribbon on a prominent place in a magazine.

This trend takes place in a context in which the alcohol industry represent their product as responsible with perhaps even a healthy connotation (see for more information: EUCAM trend reports ).

With these campaigns the alcohol industry targets their new group: women. Women feel addressed by the campaign and drinks in the campaigns are especially marketed towards them (see for more information: EUCAM trend reports ).

Alcohol consumption increases risks of breast cancer

An increasing body of research is known about the causes of breast cancer. Besides genes, obesity and little exercise, scientific research shows the role of alcohol consumption on the development of breast cancer. Among 4% of all breast cancer can be explained by alcohol use. Alcohol use has no protective effect on the development of this disease. Every single glass of alcohol increases the risk of alcohol consumption. With a consumption of 1 or 2 glasses a day the risks increases with 10%. With 3 or more glasses a day, the consumption increases even with 30%.

1.Collaborative Group on Hormonal Factors in Breast Cancer (2002). Alcohol, tobacco and breast cancer--collaborative reanalysis of individual data from 53 epidemiological studies, including 58,515 women with breast cancer and 95,067 women without the disease. British Journal of Cancer, 87, 1234-45.
2.Key, J. et al. (2006). Meta-analysis of studies of alcohol and breast cancer with consideration of the methodological issues. Cancer Causes Control, 17, 759-770.
3.Kaiser Permanente Study (2007). Alcohol Consumption - No Matter Beverage Type - Linked to Breast Cancer Risk.


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