According to Russian RMAA Group, the prohibition on any advertising for beer has been eased because of the upcoming Football World Cup Championship in 2018. Did the FIFA exert such pressure that alcohol marketing is relaxed for 3 years – as part of the agreement with sponsors? In 2018, the Football World Cup will be organised in Russia. According to the Russian RMAA Group, the prohibition on any advertising for beer on radio, TV, printed media and online has been eased until the end of 2018 because of the upcoming Football World Cup. Chris Brookes, Director of the UK Health Forum states that "It is inappropriate that FIFA can demand that countries relax rules which protect their citizens and in particular children from the harm caused by alcohol." The FIFA has taken a very strong position regarding alcohol during World Cups. As stated by Jerome Valcke (FIFA’s secretary) in 2012: “Alcoholic drinks are part of the FIFA World Cup, so we’re going to have them. Excuse me if I sound a bit arrogant but that’s something we won’t negotiate,”  as FIFA campaigned against the ban in Brazil. “The fact that we have the right to sell beer has to be a part of the law.” Furthermore, “umbrella branding" is promoted by the RMAA Group, in order to avoid the advertising limitations that are still in place (e.g. not depicting human or animal characters). However, advertising non-alcoholic beer can have a large impact on establishing the alcoholic brand as such, because the same brand name is used for promoting non-alcohol and alcoholic products.     
  NGOs  issue complaint to French government: Carlsberg and UEFA are deliberately circumventing French law during EURO 2016 and in doing so they are exposing alcohol ads to millions of children. Aggressive alcohol marketing reaches 1.9 billion people Carlsberg is one of ten official sponsors of the month-long UEFA EURO 2016, the quadrennial men's football championship of Europe organized by The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). EURO 2012 drew a cumulative audience of over 1.9 billion people[1] and is one of the world’s most popular sporting events. Civil society organizations have been tracking the alcohol marketing activities of Carlsberg over the course of the EUROs. “We are not surprised but extremely concerned. Carlsberg and UEFA have engaged in aggressive alcohol promotions throughout the whole tournament. Carlsberg is visible nearly every minute during broadcasts of the EURO 2016 games,” says Kristina Sperkova, President of IOGT International. French law bypassed "It is unacceptable to see that this is going on, when alcohol advertising in sports is actually banned by law in France,” says Wim van Dalen, President of the European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM). The ‘Loi Evin’, as the French alcohol marketing regulation is known, bans any link between alcohol marketing and sports as well as between alcohol marketing and youth[2]. Carlsberg and UEFA are apparently able to circumvent this by replacing the brand name on pitch-side adverts with one of their iconic slogans, written in the easily-recognizable Carlsberg font. Alcohol ads seen almost once per minute New research carried out by Alcohol Concern during the group stages of EURO 2016 has found that people watching England’s and Wales’ games saw alcohol marketing almost once a minute during play. It shows that during TV broadcasts of the two countries’ group games, pitch-side adverts for Carlsberg appeared 392 times – an average of 78.4 per game, or once every 72 seconds[3]. More than 50 unethical practices found Additionally, the campaign Big Alcohol Exposed has collected more than 50 case examples[4] of unethical practices by Carlsberg and UEFA. The cases include: -Pervasive in game, pitch-side ads
  • Pre- and after-game ads during interviews and press conferences
  • Merchandise for fans
  • Associations with special moments of each game like best goal and man of the match
  • The UEFA EURO 2016 smartphone app
  • Social media (Twitter) activities by Carlsberg and UEFA.
Brand-specific ads increase under-age alcohol use Research shows that exposure to brand-specific alcohol ads is a significant predictor of under-age alcohol use, with youth ages 13 to 20 being more than 5 times more likely to consume brands that advertise on national TV[5]. Particularly concerning is the fact that earlier this year a systematic literature study found a positive association between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and increased alcohol consumption amongst adult sportspeople and schoolchildren [6]. ”The volume of alcohol marketing in sport, especially in football, which is popular with children and youth, is enormous,” explained Tom Smith, Director of Campaigns at Alcohol Concern. ”We already know from our previous research that half of UK children associate leading beer brands with football. Sport should be something which inspires active participation and good health, not more and earlier alcohol use.” NGO’s call upon French government and European Commission "The EURO 2016 is another example for the need to hold Carlsberg and the alcohol industry accountable for circumventing French law,” urges Wim van Dalen. “That is why wewill this week file an official complaint to the French government and are calling on the European Commission to do more to protect children and youth from alcohol marketing.”  


  Notes for the editors: UEFA – Carslberg sponsorship deal For UEFA, the sponsorship deal with the world’s 4th largest beer producer [7] is highly lucrative. Carlsberg is said to have paid about €40 million to be exclusive beer sponsor of EURO 2016. But the Danish brewer is spending even more for promoting its brand during the tournament: Carlsberg is investing as much as €80 million on marketing for the championship [8]. The French alcohol marketing regulation The ‘Loi Evin’, as the French alcohol marketing regulation is known, bans any link between alcohol marketing and sports as well as between alcohol marketing and youth [9].
  • No advertising should be targeted at young people;
  • No advertising is allowed on television or in cinemas;
  • No sponsorship of cultural or sport events is permitted.
  • Advertising in the form of product information is allowed.
[1] Can EURO 2016 and Copa America Centenario capture an international audience? [2] Regaud, A., Craplet, M., in The Globe, 2004: The ’Loi Evin’: a French exemption [3] Alcohol Concern, 2016: Children see alcohol ads every 72 seconds during EURO 2016 [4] Big Alcohol Exposed, 2016: Unethical marketing practices during EURO 2016 [5] Siegel, M.,, in: American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, 2015: The relationship between exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising and brand-specific consumption among underage drinkers – United States, 2011–2012 [6] Brown, K. (2016). Association between alcohol sports sponsorship and consumption: a systematic review. Alcohol and alcoholism, agw006. [7] Roach, D., in: Business Insider, 2014: 5 beer makers own more than half of global beer market [8] Panja, T.: in Bloomberg, 2016: Carlsberg’s Euro Soccer Campaign said to be worth $90 million [9] Regaud, A., Craplet, M., in The Globe, 2004: The ’Loi Evin’: a French exemption
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

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