In 2010, the five NGOs participating in the AMMIE project selected 84 alcohol marketing practices that appeared to be in violation of existing national rules for self-regulation. We filed complaints against these practices at the national Alcohol Advertising Committees, who are to decide whether these complaints are to be upheld (or not).
The NGOs proceeded to ask five Youth Rating Panels from the participating countries to give their opinions on a selection of the complaints. In Denmark, 40 youngsters participated, in Germany 30, and in the Netherlands 37. In Italy, 57 young people were included in the first round, whereas the last group consisted of only 22 young people. In Bulgaria, 29 people took part in the first round, and in the fourth round 21 youngsters took part. Altogether, 199 young people between 12-18 years of age participated in one or more rounds. Their answers were compared to the decisions of the Advertising Code Committees.
De Bruijn and Van den Broeck (2011) have developed a framework to evaluate the effectiveness of existing alcohol marketing regulations and have used this to analyse which European countries have the best and worst regulations.
Key points of the fact sheet are:• Effective alcohol marketing regulations are an essential control measure in a comprehensive alcohol policy that aims to decrease alcohol-related harm and to protect young people. • Effective alcohol marketing regulations are recommended to restrict the volume of alcohol marketing practices to protect harmful exposure to alcohol advertising among young people. • When alcohol marketing practices are allowed, also content restrictions are recommended to allow alcohol advertisements that contain solely product information. • Volume and content restrictions are only effective when a strong regulatory system supports the enforcement of the regulation. • Alcohol marketing regulations in France and Norway can be seen as best practices in Europe: here strong volume or content restrictions go together with a strong supportive regulation system. • Legislation is significantly more effective than self-regulation systems in ensuring the combination between strong restrictions and an effective supporting system.