Authors:En-Yi Lin, Sally Caswell, Ru Quan You, Taisia Huckle Title: Engagement with alcohol marketing and early brand allegiance in relation to early years of drinking Journal: Addiction Research & Theory Abstract Background: This study aimed to examine the relationship between measures of awareness to marketing and drinking among a sample of young people in New Zealand. The sample consisted of 1302 males and 1236 females predominantly aged between 13 and 14 years and drawn from a number of schools in a metropolitan city. They were surveyed using a computer assisted telephone interview. Methods: Regression analyses examined relationships between marketing (awareness of and engagement with a range of alcohol marketing channels) and reports of brand allegiance and drinking status, drinking frequency and quantity and future drinking intentions. Results: The results showed that awareness of each alcohol marketing channel increased the odds of being a drinker by 8%. Engagement with web-based marketing increased the odds of being a drinker by 98% while engagement with traditional marketing increased the odds by 51%. Brand allegiance increased the odds of being a drinker by 356% and increased the likelihood of non-drinkers reporting future drinking intentions (by 73%). Brand allegiance was also associated with more frequent alcohol consumption (1.65 times more drinking occasions per year) and 86% more alcohol consumed on a typical occasion. Conclusion: The results suggest that, while exposure to all forms of marketing are associated with drinking by young people, measures of more active engagement, such as owning merchandise and downloading screensavers are stronger predictors of drinking. Having established a brand allegiance, at this early age, was related to not only drinking and future intentions to drink but also drinking patterns including consuming larger quantities.