EUCAM signalised new trends in alcohol marketing in a youth friendly sporting context in 8 European countries. alcohol marketing during the world cup
The recent FIFA World Cup in 2014 was an excellent opportunity for alcohol producers worldwide to promote their products and experiment with new media strategies. A frequency analysis suggests an alcohol brand reference was visible every minute during six analysed matches broadcasted on Brittish TV (1). EUCAM, the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing, analysed the various marketing techniques used by the alcohol industry during the World Cup. Examples of these strategies were collected by EUCAM focus points in Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Iceland, the Netherlands, Spain and England. The results have been published in a trend report. One of the main conclusions is that the relative share of internet based new media advertising seems to become bigger compared to that of the traditional media.

Cross-media campaigns dominate the alcohol marketing scene 
Cross-media campaigns are certainly no new addition to alcohol marketing. However during the 2014 FIFA World Cup it was striking to see the intensive strategic relationship between all the different forms of media like television, promotional world cup packaging, specific promotional items and social media. 

Another clear trend was that of in-store ads and world cup promotional packaging. These marketing practices were working in tandem to get people attracted to promotional items, which in turn had to lead to more people buying beer in order to obtain these items. 

More exposure of alcohol marketing leads to more adolescent drinkers
The report of EUCAM also strongly shows how the alcohol industry ties sports to drinking alcohol, and how it sells to millions of young and older people the idea that you can’t enjoy one without the other. A proven consequence of this enormous exposure of alcohol marketing is that it leads to adolescents starting to drink earlier and to drink more if they had already started drinking (2-3). Additionally, the ownership of promotional items, such as discussed in this report, correlates significantly with adolescents drinking (2-5).

Need for comprehensive regulations
The report shows that the alcohol industry within the existing alcohol marketing (self) regulation has enough space to create advertising which is attractive to young people and is actively exposed to young people. One conclusion is that regulations aimed at traditional media don’t work for new media, and partially regulating one medium also doesn’t work. This shows the need for a comprehensive measure, such as a total ban on alcohol marketing if we as a society want to protect our children from the harmful effects of exposure to all the different faces of alcohol marketing.

The report can be downloaded here. For questions or comments about the report, please contact Gerard van der Waal at gvanderwaal@eucam.info.

Below is an overview of international alcohol branded TV spots that tied into the World Cup: Worldwide UK UK Belgium Croatia the Netherlands the Netherlands

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.

The full report can be downloaded and read here

super strong “World's strongest' beer with 32% strength launched”, was read by visitors of the BBC News website in 2009 ("Strongest Beer," 2009). A year later, they would read that the same Scottish brewery had once again claimed the title of the ‘world’s strongest beer’ with the release of a new beer having an astounding 41% alcohol content ("Bismarck," 2010).

Proceeding both news reports in 2009 and 2010, British health NGOs reacted critically, calling the product an example of irresponsible brewing and marketing ("Bismarck," 2010; Strongest Beer," 2009). It would appear that there is just cause for such reactions: in 2010 British research by a charity organization for homeless people suggested that alcohol with high levels of alcohol content kills more homeless people than crack or heroin (Doward, 2010). Two years later, ratebeer.com advertised the top 50 strongest beers in the world, ranging from 18.2% to 57.7% alcohol content by listing them on their website ("50 Strongest," 2012).

It seems that brewers internationally are in a race to create the strongest beverage and because of this several important questions must be addressed. First, is this about a trend in catering to consumers or is this an irresponsible marketing ploy to garner attention for the breweries with the highest percentage of alcohol in their beverage? Secondly, are these super-strong beers novelty items for highend beer collectors or are they simply intended to provide a high amount of alcohol to consumers at an inexpensive price? And finally, is beer with high levels of alcohol content available and prevalent throughout Europe?

Because there are few, if any, scientific studies to answer these questions, EUCAM took on the responsibility of producing the first explorative and non-representative overview of strong beers in Europe.

The full report can be downloaded and read here

alcohol portrayal in movies Scientific studies suggest that seeing alcohol in movies makes youngsters drink earlier and drink more extensively. By looking at the volume of product placement in movies and TV programs, alcohol producers seem to be aware of the strong impact of this kind of marketing in films. This EUCAM trend report describes the findings of an inventory of alcohol portrayal in popular cinema movies in 27 European countries. It shows that especially in movies that have been produced in Europe, alcohol is displayed rather often. Even among films aimed at children. Characteristics of this alcohol portrayal are described in the EUCAM trend report. Finally, recommendations for policy are provided.

The full trend report can be downloaded here

r_trend-report-new-media Alcohol marketing on the internet and other new media is on the rise. This trend report shows how advertisers utilize the possibilities of new media by creating interactive marketing that is more and more personalized to attract specific target groups. The report shows how alcohol advertisers attract young people by approaching them at several social network sites, through banners on popular websites and approaching them directly by sending emails or creating a fan club.

The full trend report can be read and downloaded here

corporate social responsability With tightening regulations on alcohol marketing, alcohol producers develop new initiatives to make customers aware of their brands and products. One such recent development is the use of Corporate Social Responsibility to build on the image of the companies. This boiles down to alcohol producers claiming to take responsibility in informing customers about responsible drinking behaviour through the use of education. A challanging new development that takes with it certain dangers that are discussed in this report.

The full report can be downloaded and read here

alcohol flavoured food The growth in alcohol flavoured food offers an opportunity for the drinks and the food industry. It broadens the spectrum of options available to manufacturers and can build loyalty of consumers. The following paper reports on the prevalence of marketing alcohol flavoured food and the attached risks involved in marketing these products. Additionally, the paper reports on limitations of existing regulations on marketing alcohol flavoured food.

The full report can be downloaded and read here

women the new market With female alcohol consumption increasing, brands and manufacturers are targeting women more within this sector. With 2.2% of products launched in the liqueurs and alcohol sector aimed at women (compared with 1.1% for men), formulating and marketing the category to suit them is clearly an opportunity (1). Advertisements like to enforce this drinking trend by adapting their marketing strategies in order to widen the appeal of the product. A product that previously was only marketed to men, currently involves women in the advertisements to highlight that they may also enjoy the product. According to the Beer Institute, 25% of beer’s consumers are women. Some brands are beginning to target women, through new product development and marketing.

The full report can be downloaded and read here

alcoholic energy drinks Recent scientific literature warns for the harmful combination of alcoholic beverages with energy drinks. This combination strengthens the risks of alcohol related problems since the energy drink masks the level of intoxication. Nevertheless, this mix of drinks is very popular especially among young people. Alcohol producers make use of this demand by introducing canned alcoholic energy drinks. The launch of these new drinks comes together with innovative viral marketing practices. Examples of introduced alcoholic energy drinks and marketing practices of these drinks are described in the report.

The full report can be downloaded and read here