“The industry's opposition to marketing regulation centres on claims that the industry is responsible and that self-regulation is effective. There are considerable commonalities between tobacco and alcohol industry political activity, with differences due potentially to differences in policy contexts and perceived industry legitimacy.”Earlier this month BMC Public Health published ‘Immediate effects of alcohol marketing communications and media portrayals on consumption and cognition: a systematic review and meta-analysis of experimental studies.’ Lead authors Kaidy Stautz and Kyle G. Brown of the University of Cambridge’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit searched for experimental studies assessing immediate effects of exposure to alcohol marketing communications on objective alcohol consumption (primary outcome), explicit or implicit alcohol-related cognitions, or selection without purchasing (secondary outcomes). They identified 24 studies which met the inclusion criteria. Their meta-analysis of 758 participants (all students) shows that viewing alcohol advertisements (but not alcohol portrayals) may increase immediate alcohol consumption by small amounts, equivalent to between 0.39 and 2.67 alcohol units for males and between 0.25 and 1.69 units for females. The authors remark:
“Whilst the evidence from experimental studies is currently limited, the results of this systematic review do, in our view, lend some qualified support to the public health case for restrictions, bans, or other policies that would reduce exposure to alcohol advertising on visual broadcast media to reduce alcohol consumption. Importantly, whilst the individual-level immediate effects found here may be small, such effects could, if sustained in response to overall reduced exposure over time, have a meaningful impact on consumption at the population level.”Just as this systematic review was published a new experimental study appeared, which may have also met the inclusion criteria. In ‘Saw It on Facebook, Drank It at the Bar! Effects of Exposure to Facebook Alcohol Ads on Alcohol-Related Behaviors,’ Saleem Alhabasha and his colleagues from Michigan State University, through an experimental setting show the effects of exposure to Facebook alcohol advertisements on intentions to consume alcohol and alcohol-related behaviours. 121 participants were exposed to ads on Facebook, one group viewing ads for a brand of beer, the other a brand of bottled water. At the end of the study, as an incentive for taking part, the participants were offered one of two gift cards – one for a bar, the other for a coffee shop. Of those who saw the beer ad, 73 percent chose the bar card. Of those who saw the water ad, only about 55 percent chose the bar card.
“What this tells us is there is an effect and it can be attributed to the sheer exposure to these messages,” said Alhabasha in a press release accompanying the publication.Sports Sponsorship Another systematic review considered sports sponsorship. Alcohol and Alcoholism published ‘Association Between Alcohol Sports Sponsorship and Consumption: A Systematic Review.’ In which the Institute for Alcohol Studies’ Kathryn Brown included seven studies on the impact of exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and outcomes relating to alcohol consumption. The review presents data on 12,760 participants from Australia, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Italy, Netherlands and Poland. All studies report positive associations between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and self-reported alcohol consumption. Brown concludes:
“The relationship between alcohol sports sponsorship and increased drinking amongst schoolchildren will concern policymakers. Further research into the effectiveness of restrictions on alcohol sports sponsorship in reducing harmful drinking is required.”Addiction published online a new study from the dataset that the team of Thomas Babor compiled from monitoring international broadcasts of the 2014 FIFA World Cup tournament. In ‘Alcohol Marketing in the Americas and Spain during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Tournament,’ lead author Jonathan K. Noel performed a qualitative analysis of 87 alcohol advertisements from 20 world cup matches. This analysis found that 86.2% of all unique alcohol advertisements contained at least 1 violation of the industry’s self-regulation codes, with violation rates ranging from 72.7% (Mexico) to 100% (Brazil). Countries with the least restrictive marketing policies had a higher prevalence of violations in guidelines designed to protect minors. Spotlight on online alcohol advertising Our EUCAM colleague Avalon de Bruijn published a study on the effects of online exposure to alcohol advertising in Alcohol and Alcoholism. In ‘Exposure to Online Alcohol Marketing and Adolescents’ Drinking: A Cross-sectional Study in Four European Countries, ’ de Bruijn and her colleagues surveyed more than 9,000 students around the age of 14 at schools in Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Poland. The study found that online alcohol marketing exposure was found to be related to the odds of starting to drink and the odds of binge drinking in the past 30 days. This study is the first that has examined the impact of different levels of frequency of exposure to (online) alcohol marketing practices and the first cross-country study that examined the impact of alcohol advertising on adolescents’ drinking behaviour.
The author notes that: “…alcohol marketing on the Internet can be seen as a serious but avoidable danger to adolescents’ health. The consistency of this effect and the size of the effect among the four European countries seriously raise the demand for legal restrictions of the volume of alcohol marketing in online media in European countries.”The Journal of Substance Use published ‘Potential youth exposure to alcohol advertising on the internet: a study of internet versions of popular television programs.’ A quantitative study in which Michael Siegel and his co-authors had three underage coders (ages 10, 13, and 18) analyse web sites of television networks which stream television programs popular among youth to assess the volume of alcohol advertising. The study found that alcohol advertisements are highly prevalent on these programs, with nine of the 12 shows carrying alcohol ads, and six programs averaging at least one alcohol advertisement per episode. Novel method of measuring TOTAL exposure ‘Alcohol Advertising Exposure Among Middle School–Age Youth: An Assessment Across All Media and Venues.’ Is a particularly interesting American exposure study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs. Rebecca Collins and her colleagues of the Rand Corporation outfitted 589 children between the ages of 11-14 with a handheld computer to log their exposure to all kinds of alcohol advertising for 14 days straight. This makes it the first study to estimate total amount of alcohol advertising exposure among youth. The study found that African American and Hispanic youth are exposed to an average of 4.1 and 3.4 advertisements per day, respectively, nearly two times as many as non-Hispanic White youth. Girls were exposed to 30% more advertisements than boys. Most exposures were to outdoor advertisements, with television advertisements a close second.
President Hollande told the wine world meeting in Bordeaux that the law Evin must first be preserved. This was the demand for weeks of the whole health community since the vote of an amendment seriously questioning it. Fortunately, all parliamentarians are not subservient to the lobby of alcohol! While MPs will debate in plenary of the text of the Macron law resulting from the special committee of the Assembly, a resistance is organized to keep the law in its current balance. At the initiative of Madame Delaunay, former minister, an proposal calling to remove the amendment by the wine representative will be tabled in this regard. The organizations that have mobilized for weeks to save the loi Evin, welcome this initiative, including the courage of Mrs Delaunay, MP of Bordeaux, but also a doctor. We also applaud her for being conscious of the damage caused by alcohol. The press has widely reported, most often in a negative way, about the action of a lobby that exploits a part of the national representation for its own purposes. Furthermore, the publication of a supplement of 18 pages of World wines (dated 14 and 15 June 2015) is timely evidence that the defence of the wine country is in no way threatened by the loi Evin in its current edition. We call upon the national representation to follow the path of wisdom advocated by the president and the government, and to preserve the status quo on the loi Evin, balance between protection of health and information on product. Claude Rivière Head of European and International Affairs Association Nationale de Prévention en Alcoologie et Addictologie June 15th, 2015 Want to contribute to ‘Talking Alcohol Advertising’? If you are working in the field of alcohol marketing, wheter as a scientist, policy maker, health care worker or otherwise and want to share your latest results, campaigns or discuss a subject that is currently hotly debated in your country, please contact us at email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.
11 May 2014 How is the Danish alcohol marketing situation currently? Last spring the main concern was a new Danish high school tradition of going alcohol-bananas in Prague during the winter break. Around that time a thought entered my mind: What if Prague and Sunny Beach are merely the tip of the iceberg? What if similar scenarios are going on in Denmark every weekend reducing binge-travel to a symptom of a much greater domestic disease? Later incidents seemed to confirm this. In the summer of 2013 the media reported about 5.000 – 6.000 young people partying in Dyrehaven, a nature reserve just outside Copenhagen. The young people were mostly high school pupils from the whole Zealand area invited through Facebook. In a Danish context the size of the party was remarkable large. Moreover the get-together evolved into a party completely out of control. The youngsters were very drunk and left the precious nature vandalized. At one point it was necessary to put 40 youngsters in recovery position due to drunkenness. My first thought was that Dyrehaven was a single incident organized by the young people themselves. My second thought was that I should look into the matter. I then realized that Dyrehaven was in fact one out of a large number of nationwide so-called 16+ parties. In a period of three months I found 34 places (mainly discotheques and clubs) all offering alcohol to the 16+ segment. This is a bit astonishing bearing in mind that it in Denmark it is not allowed to serve alcohol to minors on premises. Moreover the parties at the 34 places were recurring events. They varied in size, from a couple of hundred guests to 80.000 persons invited on Facebook. One of the clubs in Copenhagen once had 150 youth education centers on their guest list and eight bars. Some of the clubs and discos also admit 15 years old children and primary school pupils. The events are organized by professionals. In non-populous areas shuttles transport the minors from various cities to the party. These are of course party buses. The involvement of the minors in the marketing of 16+ parties is extensive. In many cases the minor audience is asked to invite their peers to the 16+ parties on Facebook – typically in reward for booze. Some 16+ places employ youngsters to promote the parties among their friends and at school. They can then call themselves ambassadors. At some parties good looking persons from the target group work as event girls (and boys). The work involves sampling of drinks and creating a sexual atmosphere. Photos of naked and undressed girls from the 16+ age group in semi-pornographic positions are common in the advertising. The main focus though, is on alcohol beginning with advertising on Facebook. Beer and alcopops are available at the 16+ parties. And so are spirits. In 75 percent of the 34 parties hard liquor was mentioned on the bar menu. So, the focus is on heavy drinking. Alcohol is almost always sold with a discount. Or it is handed out for free during a period of one or two hours in the beginning of the evening. The staff seem keen to push the youngster’s alcohol intake. For instance at some places alcohol is served in buckets, as body tequilas or beer bongs are provided. In a number of cases professional promoters enter the party with their products. Their job is to sample, and in some cases they pour alcohol directly into the mouth of the youngsters. We know little of the organizers in general. Some of them we know because they expose themselves in the social media. These are the organizers from the Copenhagen clubs. They are typically young, popular men in their early twenties with many followers on Facebook. They promote parties and clubs on their personal Facebook profile. The young organizers actively take part in the parties, share photos and comments on Facebook and communicate with organizers from other clubs with whom they also hang out. They encourage extensive drinking in word as well as in deed. They are often drunk, but never too drunk to promote certain alcohol brands, for instance Belverde Vodka. According to the Danish Law of Marketing it is not legal to mention alcohol, or to picture alcohol in ads addressed to minors. Nor is it allowed to make references to alcohol. Nevertheless, while the marketing of Prague and Sunny Beach youth travel has been restricted by the Consumer Ombudsman, discotheques and clubs in our own backyard are still promoting 16+ parties with alcohol. Another question occurs in my mind: Is Denmark (being very liberal) the only country to experience 16+ parties with alcohol? Ina Johansen Project Manager at Alcohol & Society Denmark May 11th, 2014 Please find attached below Alcohol & Society Denmark’s report on the 16+ parties (in Danish) 16rapport_digital.pdf (5,33 MB)
23 October 2013 Oktoberfest. That’s something you might associate with Germany, Bayern and snow topped mountains, but perhaps not so much with tropical Madagascar. While logic dictates this assumption is right, Oktoberfest is live and happening all over Madagascar this month. I don’t know who’s behind the festivities in Germany, but in our case the party is 100% invented, organized and promoted by Madagascar’s most popular beer brand, THB. Because apparently not enough Malagasy where drinking beer, THB in 2005 started ‘celebrating’ their beer through the Oktoberfest. Normally this was done in the form of a three day giant stadium event with music, festivities, games and lots of beer. However, this year THB experiences competition from 33 eager politicians, campaigning for the presidential elections on October 25th. As politicians have taken over TV, radio and the newspapers with their campaigns we have seen a significant drop in alcohol advertisements in these media. However, THB has found a way to still get their message through, despite the bombardment of political messages, by blanketing our country with many smaller events in various places, to make sure no one escapes their marketing. Last week we had someone from EUCAM over to monitor alcohol marketing in our capital Antananarivo. When we first shook hands, he was already dumb founded by the amount of alcohol billboards and murals he had seen on the way from the airport. As the week went on and we systematically mapped various areas in the city, he appeared to be totally overwhelmed by the sheer amount of alcohol ads. And I have to say, walking through my city and registering every alcohol ad we came across, really opened my eyes. I already knew there were large amounts of alcohol advertisements in Antananarivo, but now I found that in many parts of the city you can’t walk 10 meters without being hit in the head by THB, Skol, Queens, Castel or Dzama. We also came across a Jumbo supermarket, which for the Oktoberfest seemed to be taken over by THB. Literally the whole store front and parking lot where covered in THB colours, flags, banners, giant sized bottles, dancing clowns, animation girls and TV’s showing THB commercials. The enormous amount of alcohol advertising in Madagascar is especially problematic because we identified many outdoor ads in close proximity to schools and kindergartens. We also found that schools are often surrounded by bars where, according to the kids we interviewed, it was effortless to buy alcohol as a minor. The retailers would probably make a remark about their age, but ultimately would sell them whatever they want. I am well aware that Madagascar culture and history are filled with problematic and harmful drinking behaviour. In 1828, Radama I, the oldest son of our first king allegedly died as a result of a delirium tremens from alcohol abuse. After which, his father king Andrianampoinimerina was the instigator of the “Code of 305 Articles” [Dimy venty sy telonjato], promulgated by the Queen Ranavalona II in 1881, which banned the sale, production and consumption of alcohol. At this time, to illustrate the devastating effects of alcohol, King Andrianampoinimerina had the people gathered around a special demonstration: a strong zebu was fed of alcohol. The animal was then sliced so that people can found that his bowels were burned by alcohol. From there come the famous Malagasy sayings “There’s nothing stronger than a zebu but when it is fed of alcohol, his liver burns” [Tsy misy mafy ohatran’ny omby fa rehefa misotro toaka may ny atiny] and “One will see the bottom (what is hidden behind the apparent reality) after slicing” [“Eo am-pandrasana mahita ny atiny”]. Nowadays though, it seems this lesson has been forgotten and we are collectively losing our people to alcohol. Do we really want to expose our children to marketing messages that say that it’s normal (or preferable even) to consume alcohol every day of the week (in 65 Cl bottles)? Do we want our children to think that drinking alcohol provides an escape from the problems of everyday life? That drinking is the Malagasy thing to do? The Blue Cross Madagascar will shortly present a policy report to the inter-ministerial committee on alcohol abuse. Among the main points will be the advice to regulate and actually enforce the regulations on alcohol marketing and selling to minors. To the candidates of the current presidential election I want to say that it’s not too late. King Andrianampoinimerina lost his son before he enacted a law to address the problem of alcohol abuse. Dear candidates, this is your chance to enact laws before a whole generation of young Malagasy drowns in alcohol. Rev. Fanja RASOLOMANANA National Coordinator of Alcohol Policy Program, Blue Cross Madagascar. Antananarivo, Madagascar October 23rd, 2013
2 January 2013 On the first October of 2012 I attended a meeting held at the Eurocare office in Brussels. This was a meeting organized by EUCAM with the purpose of developing a collective strategy on alcohol marketing, to be shared and implemented by NGOs and health organizations through Europe. The meeting was attended by people from Eurocare, IOGT-NTO, EPHA (the European Public Health Alliance), APYN (the Alcohol Policy Youth Network), Active Europe and of course EUCAM. Besides discussing some of the plans for 2013 of each organization (top secret stuff, of course…), we all agreed on striving for the mutual goal of a total alcohol marketing ban. In practice this means that we will work to achieve an alcohol advertising ban as well as a ban on alcohol sponsoring. In our definition of a marketing ban, we do not include a ban on price marketing or on Corporate Social Responsibility campaigns. We refer to what the public defines as alcohol marketing (in order to follow the rules of communication: we want to be short and clear). Another kind of wording for our desire can be: a ban for commercial communication on alcohol. In fact we want the same for alcohol as we have already for tobacco. We all agreed that self-regulation of alcohol marketing is not functioning and that we do not support the idea that self-regulation has to be strengthened. Therefore we decided not to spend any more time in discussions about the strengthening of self-regulation. Self-regulation is an instrument of the industry to prevent statutory regulations. We will strive for improving statutory regulations (effective volume restrictions) because only these take us forward on the road to a complete ban. In other words: to a necessary protection of young people from the harmful impact of alcohol marketing and sponsoring. If the European Commission or the industry wants to install an independent board/ commission/comity for the monitoring of self-regulation or for taking decisions about violations of the self-regulation codes, the organizations present at the meeting decided not to take part in this kind of initiatives, nor to promote these. We will simply say: “This is none of our business and we won’t spend time on it.” Everyone agreed that it will be crucial to do things in the right order. This means it’s primarily important to put the focus on national policy change instead of European policy change. If more and more countries decide to go for a ban or for specific statutory regulations, than finally Europe has to follow. And it would seem there is currently a momentum for this. We also came to the conclusion that we are currently missing critical data on alcohol marketing investments and data about exposure of young people to alcohol marketing. The industry is aware of the value of this data and for that reason it recently blocked the delivery of exposure data in Ireland. We will try to raise this important issue on European Commission level. It was a pleasant and very productive meeting, not only did we learn of each other’s goals and plans but more importantly we started to band together. Even with all the public support that we already experience, health organizations such as our own are relatively small and feeble when compared to the multinational organizations we find ourselves fighting against. That’s why it’s so important for us to form a united front, put our differences behind us and communicate consistently across the board. If we can do this, than 2013 will be the year that we stand together and become greater than the sum of our parts. Now, how’s that for a new year’s resolution? Wim van Dalen, president of EUCAM President of the European Center for Monitoring Alcohol Monitoring Utrecht, the Netherlands, December 27th 2012 Want to contribute to ‘Talking Alcohol Advertising’? If you are working in the field of alcohol marketing, wheter as a scientist, policy maker, health care worker or otherwise and want to share your latest results, campaigns or discuss a subject that is currently hotly debated in your country, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We would love to hear from you.
20 December 2012 In this installment of our guest written blog ‘Talking Alcohol Advertising’ Ella Sjödin of Sweden’s IOGT-NTO, shares her thoughts on the current status of the prohibition on televised alcohol marketing in Sweden. “Even though there is a clear prohibition against alcohol advertising on radio and TV in Sweden I daily see alcohol advertising on several Swedish TV channels. By broadcasting from the UK, TV channels, so far, have managed to circumvent Swedish legislation. In 2011 we filed a complaint against these broadcasts to the Swedish Broadcasting Authority, by referring to the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The authority has now required that the UK stops alcohol advertising in broadcasts to Sweden. It’s a real progress for us to hear that the Swedish authorities have taken a stand against the alcohol marketing and decided to proceed with our case. I also think it’s important to note that there is a political consensus and strong public support for the prohibition against alcohol marketing on TV. A poll in 2011 showed that 80 % of the population supports the prohibition and that 78 % thinks that it’s wrong that the TV channels circumvent Swedish law. I think that you can also note the resistance towards alcohol marketing from the regulators. The Swedish government earlier this year appointed a commission to further look into how to regulate and monitor the alcohol marketing on TV and digital media. The study is expected to be ready in the end of March 2013. Coming back to our complaint, I have to say that it is exciting to test the possibility for Sweden to cooperate with the United Kingdom through the so-called principle of the country of reception, introduced in the new Audiovisual Media Services Directive. This principle means in this case that Swedish law applies even when an advert is broadcasted from another country but entirely or mainly targets Sweden and a Swedish audience. Just as in our case, where the broadcasts on Swedish channels only are shown in Sweden for a Swedish audience. Now we wait to see whether the UK will chose the line of the Swedish Broadcasting Authority and stop alcohol advertising on Swedish TV or if the case will continue to the EU level.” Ella Sjödin European officer at IOGT-NTO. Want to contribute to ‘Talking Alcohol Advertising’? If you are working in the field of alcohol marketing, wheter as a scientist, policy maker, health care worker or otherwise and want to share your latest results, campaigns or discuss a subject that is currently hotly debated in your country, please contact us at email@example.com. We would love to hear from you.
26 November 2012 A dramatic and surprising story broke out in Lithuanian media this autumn about a MP of the now expired parliament. Mr. V. Matuzas allegedly received a 16 thousand euro bribe for introducing amendments to several laws, including the Alcohol Control Law. The surprise is not the alleged bribe, since Lithuania ranks No. 50 in the Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index (2011). The real surprise is that a suspected mediator of the bribe, lobbyist A. Romanovskis, was actually jailed for two weeks after a court order and criminal investigation was opened against MP Matuzas. This is an unusually harsh legal response, to a quite usual activity – profit seeking industries using legal and illegal methods to manufacture conditions most favourable for their profits. Not many things surprise us, since in Lithuania we have been toughened by some hair rising practices (media industry leaking personal contacts of MPs promoting alcohol control and inciting to violence against them, the famous blackmail against Lithuanian government by Norwegian Oil giant “Statoil” regarding alcohol retail at night, etc.). Legal lobbyist A. Romanovskis, who is no stranger in working with the alcohol and tobacco industry, has paid the alleged bribe in smaller instalments to the Charity and Relief Fund, which according to Lithuanian media, is controlled by Matuzas. The acknowledged original author of the amendments to the Alcohol Control Law according to the media was an association called Investor's Forum, whose many members are foreign owned companies, including tobacco producer Philip Morris Baltic. And allegedly in exchange for “charity” Matuzas has proposed and voted in favour of the amendments, effectively revoking a ban on alcohol advertising which should have come into effect on January 1st 2012. It’s important to note, that this measure was introduced in the end of 2007 as “a compromise in a pressure suit” suggested by the alcohol industry – as yet another effort to postpone restrictions for alcohol advertisements on TV. And here is the situation: the legal battle is just beginning to sizzle, suspects are still “presumed innocent”, yet the industry is already enjoying the fruits of the investment – they have avoided a drop in consumption which should have been expected from previous experience. When in 2007 restrictions on alcohol advertisement on TV were introduced it soon translated into positive public health outcomes – among others very importantly – a significant drop in alcohol intoxications in children aged 7-14. The number of alcohol intoxicated children was increasing fast up to 2007, when it reached the peak of 105,2 cases per 100 thousand population and then suddenly reversed and dropped to 67,9 in 2010. The amendments to this and several other Laws that have been passed under suspicious circumstances are still operational. The Chairman of the Parliamentary Ethics and Procedure Commission A. Salamakinas has commented that “The Seimas Statute does not provide a rule on what to do in cases, when it turns out that a bribe was paid for bills that were signed into laws. We haven’t had such precedent, so there is no accepted practice what to do in similar cases.” This occurs to us as quite convenient and justifies the conclusion: crime pays. Legal battles against corrupt officials backed by the industry might take years and there are no clear procedures on how to revoke fabricated amendments. It is obvious that an industry that is capable and willing to exert such pressure on legal and democratic structures in any country should not be part of the policy decision making processes regarding their products. Lithuanian experience with this and other cases of industries influencing elected officials at the expense of public health outcomes provides yet another piece of evidence for stripping ALL for profit industry (media, tourism, food and retail, agriculture you name it) from stakeholder’s position in developing alcohol and tobacco control policies. Small and relatively weak EU countries are in clear and present danger to become cheap test arenas – a cost effective way for the industry to assess the strength of the legal and democratic system. Newly gained experience and skills can be easily refined and used in more expensive countries. The industry is very skilled in using newly gained experience multiple times in similar situations internationally. This kind of outsourcing seems to be very dangerous for democracy. In this globally connected world, the shared experience of NGOs might help make this kind of behaviour become less profitable. Because the European Union cannot afford a flourishing, creative and influential alcohol and tobacco lobby. Nijole G. Midttun is board member of the National Coalition for Tobacco and Alcohol Control Vaida Liutkute, is PhD student in Public Health and member of National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition Aurelijus Veryga, is President of Lithuanian National Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition and Baltic Tobacco and Alcohol Control Coalition Learn more about the National Tobaco and Alcohol Control Coalition>>
22 October 2012 For the third installment of the guest blog Talking Alcohol Advertising EUCAM president Wim van Dalen sat down with Andrei Nevskii of the Drug Abuse Prevention Center in St. Petersburg, to talk about the recent ban on alcohol marketing in Russia. Wim van Dalen: ‘Tell us a little about the recent legislative changes that effectively ban alcohol marketing. How comprehensive is this ban and how did it come in effect?’ Andrei Nevskii: ‘As is commonly known, the Russian Federation is coping with serious alcohol abuse problems. Because of this, the Russian government has formulated policy measures that are supposed to cut Russian alcohol consumption in half by 2020. One of these measures is the widespread prohibition of alcohol marketing. Since last July outdoor marketing is only allowed in “stationary retail outlets offering retail sales of alcohol beverages”. Also into effect came a comprehensive ban on televised alcohol advertisements. At the same time a ban on online alcohol advertising also went into effect. Furthermore, advertising of alcohol in print media is going to be banned on January 1, 2013.” Van Dalen: ‘To our knowledge Russia is the first country to introduce a ban on alcohol advertising on the internet. What exactly does this law entail?’ Nevskii: ‘Advertising of alcoholic beverages is a law violation, not only on the websites that are registered in the Russian domain zone, but also in the areas. com,. org,. net and others, if sites are Russian-lingual.’ Van Dalen: ’An important part of making regulations effective is having a strong regulatory framework. One pillar of effective enforcement of regulations is the adequate penalization. What is the penalty for violating the ban on online alcohol marketing?’ Nevskii: ‘The fines for alcohol advertising on the Internet that have been established are: for individuals – up to 2.5 thousand rubles (80 USD), for officials – up to 20 thousand rubles (about 700 USD), for legal entities – 500 thousand rubles (about 17000 USD).’ Van Dalen: ‘Another important measure to increase the effect of regulations is systematic monitoring of alcohol advertising, searching for violations of the law. How is this arranged in the new law?’ Nevskii: ‘In the new addition to the Law “On Advertising” (of 13.03.2006 N 38-FZ), the Federal Antimonopoly Service is responsible for the enforcement. It states that: “The basis for the verification of compliance with the law can be … addresses and statements of citizens, legal persons, information from government bodies, local authorities, the media…” Van Dalen: ‘So , there is no systematic monitoring in place? Basically, checking if alcohol producers and advertising companies are complying with the law is dependent on citizen initiatives?’ Nevskii: ‘That’s right, this will probably come down to lawyers from the sobriety movement, consumer protection groups and maybe youth NGOs.’ Van Dalen: ‘Do you know of any examples of violations?’ Nevskii: ‘On the site of the Federal Antimonopoly Service there is only one example of a detected violation. The commission of the Federal Antimonopoly Service stopped the illegal distribution of alcohol advertising by broadcaster “STREAM”. Alcohol ads were placed on one of the channels of Novosibirsk on 00:30 and 2:20 local time.’ Van Dalen: ‘I imagine the bans are not received well by the alcohol and advertising industry. How are they reacting?’ Nevskii: ‘Indeed they describe the new measures as very painful. The share of alcohol advertising accounts for about 4% in the advertising revenue of central newspapers and magazines. While, the loss of the Russian Internet due to alcohol advertising ban can be estimated at 200 million USD. So media managers are looking for law evasion and point out some ways: - Creation of alcohol brand communities in Facebook or Livejournal for registered participants. - Bloggers reviews (Blogs are not Mass Media according to Russian legislation). - SMS, MMS, e-mailing. - Ads in applications for iPhone and Android devices - In party reports (as a picture, and in guests citations) Also, websites of manufacturers or alcohol retailers do not fall under the concept of advertising. So there is still lots of room for the alcohol industry to cause harm through marketing. While, the new laws are a good beginning, they are just that: the beginnings of comprehensively tackling Russia’s culture of alcohol abuse. Andrei Nevskii is deputy director of the Drug Abuse Prevention Center in St. Petersburg
12 October 2012 The European Alcohol Policy Alliance (Eurocare) is a European umbrella organisation representing more than 50 NGOs from 22 countries. Eurocare actively takes part in policy discussions and debates when alcohol is discussed in the EU, and alcohol marketing is one of the policy areas we are working on. The EU does not have any harmonized approach to alcohol marketing, and there are very different regulations on marketing from one country to another. The topic most discussed at EU level when it comes to marketing is the debate on voluntary actions and self-regulation of the alcohol industry, which is an approach we in Eurocare see as a very weak policy tool to regulate exposure of alcohol, both in terms of content (what is shown) and volume (the quantity shown). Being aware of different realities and practices around in Europe is a value we see as crucial for us when discussing alcohol marketing. To enable us to be more aware of the variations and practices, we initiated an activity where we wanted people from all over Europe to report on their exposure to alcohol marketing during one day (Friday 14 September). We sent a request out, and our task is now to collect, go through and analyse the results we have. Do people in Lithuania report on more exposure than Denmark? What kind of marketing patterns are there in Czech Republic? These are some of the questions we want to know. A dream scenario would be for us to have a catalogue full of picture from every country in Europe, from any age group, different income levels and education, from a high number of people. Or…maybe the dream scenario would be a catalogue with no pictures, because there simply was no alcohol marketing in Europe? Anyway – the reality is neither of the scenarios, but that we are a small organisation with limited capacity, but we still want to make an effort. And the knowledge gathered from the marketing snapshot is a tool to enable us to do so. We are still working on the findings, but we can easily see some trends in what people reported. The first thing that crosses the mind when looking at the reports and pictures is the quantity of big brands exposed permanently outdoor. A huge share of the reported exposure is signs, billboards, and parasols at cafes with branding on them. Another finding is that people reported much less than expected on online exposure. There can be many reasons for this, for example the age of the informants or practical solutions for reporting. However, it is an interesting observation. When talking about the informants; the female part of the population handed in more reports than their counterpart, which can of course also have an impact on what is reported and seen. These were just some quick initial findings, and we will produce a report where we present all the information. Follow our activity online on Facebook or Twitter to keep updated on the developments! This year’s exercise was the first of this kind from Eurocare, and we will do another try next year. The information we gather will be used as examples and we hope to expand this knowledge and documentation further. Read more about Eurocare: www.eurocare.org Contact us regarding the marketing snapshots: firstname.lastname@example.org Nils Garnes Policy Officer, Eurocare