Author: The Weinberg Group LLC prepared for The Brewers of Europe
Title: An independent review of issues related to alcohol consumption in Europe
Year: June 12, 2006
Conclusions and reactions by EUCAM
The report of the Weinberg Group prepared for The Brewers of Europe describes the effects of alcohol marketing on only one page. The authors make several conclusions of which some can be counter argued.
1. Econometric studies find no effect
Conclusion Weinberg Report: Majority econometric studies suggest that alcohol advertising has minimal or no effect on total alcohol consumption.
Reaction: This is in line with conclusions of other review articles (eg Hastings 2005, Anderson 2007, Smith & Foxcroft 2007). However, these alternative review articles mention that the econometric studies look at population data and do not focus on the effects of alcohol advertising exposure among young people.
2. Findings Consumer studies have been less clear
Conclusion Weinberg Report: Findings from consumer studies have been less clear.
Reaction: Consumer studies can be categorized into cross-sectional and longitudinal studies. The effects of cross-sectional studies are mixed. The longitudinal studies, however, all find evidence of an effect of alcohol advertisement on drinking behavior in adolescents.
3. Recent study by Bergler finds counter evidence
Conclusion Weinberg Report: A recent psychometric analysis by Bergler et al. (2000) conclude that alcohol advertisement does not influence alcohol consumption.
Reaction: This cross-sectional study by Bergler et al. Is not so recent anymore and has some important limitations (see summary of Bergler et al. 2000). The conclusions of this study are far from conclusive.
4. Need for longitudinal studies
Conclusion Weinberg Report: The authors claim there is need for longitudinal studies to establish causality.
Reaction: This is true, however, of all recently published longitudinal studies only the study of Ellickson et al (2005) is addressed. Although, these studies are mentioned in a review article by Hastings et al (2005) which is used in the Weinberg report, longitudinal studies by Snyder (2004 and 2006), Stacy (2004) are for example not mentioned.
5. Limitation study Ellickson et al (2005)
Conclusion Weinberg Report: The authors claim that the study of Ellickson et al (2005) found that several forms of alcohol advertising predict adolescent drinking, but that the sources of this advertising depended on the child’s prior experience with alcohol.
Reaction: A longitudinal study of Ellickson et al (2005) found indeed effects of alcohol advertising on drinking behaviour in adolescents. However, the conclusions of Ellickson are based on baseline drinkers as well as baseline non-drinkers. If we only look at baseline non-drinkers we exclude child’s prior experience with alcohol and the authors still find evidence of effects of alcohol advertising on the likelihood of initiating alcohol consumption.To evaluate the effect of exposure to alcohol marketing on alcohol consumption in youngsters by reviewing recent longitudinal studies.