In a recent study, Addiction Switzerland provides an overview of the challenges linked to online alcohol marketing. The main findings of the research are presented below. The study consists of four parts:
  1. (Non systematic) review of the literature on the impact and the strategies of online marketing for alcohol
  2. Monitoring of online alcohol marketing via selected websites and Facebook pages
  3. Overview of the legal regulation of online alcohol marketing in Switzerland and the self-regulation of the industry
  4. Online mystery-shopping
 
  1. The literature review highlights the use of internet as a new tool for alcohol marketing. Besides traditional websites, marketers rely on social media to reach a mainly young audience. Online marketing allows to interact with users who become ambassadors of the brands through liking, sharing and commenting posts from alcohol brands. One of the main issues is the user generated content, which is out of reach of any regulation or code. Research has shown that there is a correlation between the exposure to alcohol marketing and the onset of drinking and the amounts consumed. This correlation is even stronger when traditional marketing via newspapers, magazines etcetera is combined with online marketing.
  1. To generate an understanding of the marketing strategies for alcohol on the internet, monitoring of several brand websites and official Facebook pages over four months has been conducted. In general, the sites and pages respect the self-regulation codes, but the widespread use of lifestyle-advertisements suggests that these advertisements are also appealing to young people and even minors.
  1. There are several restrictions for alcohol marketing in Swiss law that also apply to online marketing, but the possibilities offered by the internet are difficult to regulate. The self-regulation codes only partially cover these gaps. One main point is the fact that user generated content is explicitly out of reach of these codes and the industry does not take responsibility for such content.
  1. A sample of online mystery shopping showed that it is very easy for minors to buy alcohol via the internet. In 11 of 12 cases minors could buy alcohol without having to prove their age. Therefore, Addiction Switzerland proposes to extend the "traditional" mystery shopping to online stores. Mystery shopping has proved to be an effective measure to sensitize outlets for respecting age limits.
  Link to the reports: Synthesis: Marthaler, M. und Zobel. F. (2016): Alkoholmarketing und –Verkauf über das Internet: Eine Auslegeordnung. Synthese der vier Teilprojekte. Lausanne: Sucht Schweiz. [LINK] Review of the literature: Marthaler, M. (2015): Online-Alkoholmarketing. Strategien, Wirkung und Regulierung. Literaturreview. Lausanne: Sucht Schweiz. [LINK] Monitoring of the alcohol marketing on the internet: Marthaler, M., Mendez, N. und Zobel, F. (2016): Beobachtung des Alkoholmarketings im Internet. Lausanne: Sucht Schweiz. [LINK] Regulation of alcohol marketing in the internet: Marthaler, M. (2015): Alkoholwerbung im Internet. Rechtliche Rahmenbedingungen in der Schweiz, Selbstregulierung der Alkoholindustrie und Richtlinien der social media-Plattformen. Lausanne: Sucht Schweiz. [LINK] Online mystery-shopping: Marthaler, M. und Mendez, N. (2015): Online Testkäufe. Verkauf von Alkohol über das Internet. Lausanne: Sucht Schweiz. [LINK] See also http://www.addictionsuisse.ch/
Authors: Tim Lobstein, Jane Landon, Nicole Thornton & David Jernigan Title: The commercial use of digital media to market alcohol products: a narrative review Journal: Addiction, 2016, 10.1111/add.13493OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Abstract: Background and aims: The rising use of digital media in the last decade, including social networking media and downloadable applications, has created new opportunities for marketing a wide range of goods and services, including alcohol products. This paper aims to review the evidence in order to answer a series of policy-relevant questions: does alcohol marketing through digital media influence drinking behaviour or increases consumption; what methods of promotional marketing are used, and to what extent; and what is the evidence of marketing code violations and especially of marketing to children? Methods and findings: A search of scientific, medical and social journals and authoritative grey literature identified 47 relevant papers (including 14 grey literature documents). The evidence indicated (i) that exposure to marketing through digital media was associated with higher levels of drinking behaviour; (ii) that the marketing activities make use of materials and approaches that are attractive to young people and encourage interactive engagement with branded messaging; and (iii) there is evidence that current alcohol marketing codes are being undermined by alcohol producers using digital media. Conclusions: There is evidence to support public health interventions to restrict the commercial promotion of alcohol in digital media, especially measures to protect children and youth. The article can be downloaded via this link in the Wiley Online Library.

Authors: Gallopel-Morvan,Spilka, Mutatayi, Rigaud, Lecas & Beck Title: France's Évin Law on the control of alcohol advertising: content, effectiveness and limitations Journal: Addiction, 2016, 10.1111/add.13431.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Abstract: Aims: To assess the effectiveness of the 2015 version of the French Évin Law that was implemented in 1991 with the objective of protecting young people from alcohol advertising.

Design: Data were obtained from survey questions measuring exposure and receptivity to alcohol ads that were introduced for the first time in the 2015 European School Survey Project on Alcohol and Other Drugs. Participants and settings: A representative sample of 6,642 tenth to twelfth grade students (mean age 17.3) were interviewed in 198 schools in France by a self-administered questionnaire. Measurements: Information was collected on alcohol advertising exposure in different media (outside billboards, Internet, etc.) and receptivity to recent ads (attractiveness, incentive to drink, etc.). Findings: The majority of students declared that they had been exposed at least once a month to alcohol ads in supermarkets (73.2%), in movies (66.1%), magazines and newspapers (59.1%), on billboards in streets (54.5%), and on the Internet (54.1%). Concerning the last recalled ads, 27.8% remembered the beverage type, 18.2% the brand, 13% felt like having a drink after having seen the ad and 19.6% found the ad attractive (boys ranked significantly higher than girls for all these indicators; p-value < 0.05). Conclusions: The 2015 version of the French Évin law does not appear effectively to protect young people from exposure to alcohol advertising in France. The full text article can be downloaded here. 
The more brand-specific alcohol advertising that young drinkers are exposed to, the higher their consumption of those brands, according to a new study led by researchers from the School of Public Health and School of Medicine. The study, in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, found an association between past-year exposure to advertising, measured in what the researchers called “adstock” units, and consumption of the brands advertised. Every 100 adstock-unit increase in exposure was associated with an increase of six drinks consumed during the past 30 days, while exposures of 300 or more adstock units were associated with an increase of 55.7 drinks. The study examined links between exposure to brand-specific TV advertising and drinking among a national sample of more than 1,000 youths, ages 13 to 20, who reported drinking in the past 30 days. Participants were surveyed about their past-month viewership of the 20 most popular non-sports shows that contained alcohol ads. They also were asked about their past-month consumption of the 61 brands in those advertisements. The study estimated that the advertised brands accounted for almost 47 percent of all alcohol consumed by the young drinkers, and that there was a “dose-response” relationship between exposure to ads and drinking levels. “The exposure-consumption relationship was particularly strong among those with 300 or more adstock units of exposure,” the researchers said. “There were fewer youth with these higher levels of advertising exposure, but they consumed a disproportionately large amount of the alcohol consumed by the entire youth sample.” The research team noted that while alcohol advertising has been linked with youths’ brand choices in past studies, alcohol marketing remains self-regulated by the industry. Manufacturers have guidelines saying that ads should be limited to media that have a mostly adult audience. But alcohol companies don’t always follow their own guidelines, and there is no penalty for violations. The current study confirms that under-21 audiences are seeing plenty of alcohol ads, the authors said. “Although previous studies have shown that exposure to advertising is related to which brands underage youths drink, few studies have assessed whether the quantity of exposure is associated with the total quantity of alcohol consumed by these youths,” said lead author Timothy Naimi, associate professor of community health sciences and of medicine at BUSM, and a physician at Boston Medical Center. Michael Siegel, the study’s co-principal investigator and professor of community health sciences, said the study suggests that advertising influences “how much kids drink, not just what they drink. “This has important implications because we know that the amount of alcohol consumption is associated with increased risks of harm, including motor vehicle fatalities, suicide and violence. We believe these findings should prompt a reevaluation of the industry’s self-regulatory framework, in order to reduce advertising exposure among underage youth,” he said. Among study participants, the median number of drinks consumed in the past 30 days was five. The average number of drinks consumed increased from 14 to 33 per month as advertising exposure increased from zero to 300 adstock units. For participants exposed to 300 or more adstock units, per-person consumption skyrocketed from 33 drinks to more than 200 drinks consumed in the past 30 days. The authors said they hoped the study would prompt research that further examines the exposure-consumption relationship, especially among youths who have high exposure to ads on TV and in other media. Naimi said that, for parents, the findings offer extra motivation to curb kids’ time in front of the TV, particularly for programming with alcohol advertising. In general, experts recommend that children and teenagers spend a limited amount of time each day in front of a “screen”—whether a TV, computer, or phone. “This could be yet another reason to limit screen time,” Naimi said. Co-authors on the study were: William DeJong, professor of community health sciences; David Jernigan of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; and Craig Ross of Fiorente Media, Inc., also research assistant professor of epidemiology at SPH. The above is a verbatim copy of the press release by Boston University Medical Campus Full text: http://www.jsad.com/doi/abs/10.15288/jsad.2016.77.723 The article has been included in our online databases of scientific publications: http://eucam.info/2016/09/12/naimi-et-al-2016/
Author: Timothy Naimi, Craig Ross, Michael Siegel, William de Jong & David Jernigan Title: Amount of televised alcohol advertising exposure and the quantity of alcohol consumed by youth Journal: Journal of studies on alcohol and drugs (2016), 77(5), 723-729 AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Aims: Although studies demonstrate that exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising is associated with an increased likelihood of youth consuming particular brands, the relationship between quantity of brand-specific advertising exposure and quantity of brand-specific consumption has not been firmly established. Methods: Using the Alcohol Brand Research Among Underage Drinkers (ABRAND) national sample of 1,031 young drinkers (ages 13–20), this study examined the relationship between their aggregated past-year exposure to advertising (in adstock units, a measure based on gross rating points) for 61 alcohol brands that advertised on the 20 most popular nonsports television programs viewed by underage youth and their aggregated total consumption of those same brands during the past 30 days. Predictive models adjusted for other media exposure, predictors of youth’s alcohol consumption, and the consumption of brands not advertised on the 20 shows. Results: For the fully adjusted models, each 100 adstock unit increase in exposure (about 1 SD) was associated with an increase of 5.9 drinks (95% CI [0.9, 11.0 drinks]) consumed during the past 30 days among those with less than 300 units of advertising exposure, and an increase of 55.7 drinks (95% CI [13.9, 97.4 drinks]) among those with 300 or more adstock units of exposure. Conclusions: Among underage youth, the quantity of brand-specific advertising exposure is positively associated with the total quantity of consumption of those advertised brands, even after controlling for the consumption of non-advertised brands. Future research should examine exposure–consumption relationships longitudinally and in other media. Full text: http://www.jsad.com/doi/full/10.15288/jsad.2016.77.723
meisje-tv-gr_1_2 Seeing and liking alcohol advertising on television among underage youths was associated with the onset of drinking, binge drinking and hazardous drinking, according to a new study by researchers at the Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC) and Children's Hospital at Dartmouth-Hitchcock (CHaD) published online by JAMA Pediatrics. CHaD pediatrician and associate professor of pediatrics at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth Susanne E. Tanski, MD, MPH and her coauthors examined the reach of television advertising and its effect on drinking in young people. In 2011 and 2013, they conducted telephone- and web-based surveys with 2,541 adolescents and young adults between the ages of 15 and 23 years at baseline, with 1,596 completing a follow-up survey. The surveys examined recall of more than 300 television advertising images for top beer and distilled spirits brands that aired nationally in 2010-11. The authors derived an alcohol receptivity score based on having seen the ad, liking it and correctly identifying the brand. "The alcohol industry claims that their advertising self-regulation program protects underage youths from seeing their ads," said Tanski. "Our study indicates that it does not." Participants who were underage were only slightly less likely than legal-drinking-age participants to have seen alcohol ads (the average percentage of ads seen were 23.4 percent, 22.7 percent and 25.6 percent, respectively, for young people ages 15-17, 18-20 and 21-23 years of age). Alcohol is the most common drug used by young people. In 2013, 66.2 percent of U.S. high school students reported trying alcohol, 34.9 percent reported alcohol use in the past 30 days and 20.8 percent reported recent binge drinking. In the U.S. alone, producers of alcohol spend billions of dollars annually marketing their products. And, unlike cigarettes, which voluntarily ended television advertising in 1969, alcohol is actively marketed on television, according to the study background. Survey results indicate that higher alcohol receptivity score among underage participants predicted the onset of drinking, binge drinking and hazardous drinking in the future. The transition to binge drinking (participants were asked how often they have six or more drinks on one occasion) and hazardous drinking (which was defined as meeting or exceeding a threshold score for frequency and quantity of alcohol use) happened for 29 percent and 18 percent of young people ages 15 to 17 years, respectively, and for 29 percent and 19 percent of young people ages 18 to 20 years, respectively. "Alcohol companies claim their advertising does not affect underage drinking – that instead it is parents and friends that are the culprits," said James D. Sargent, MD, senior author on the study and a CHaD pediatrician, the Scott M. and Lisa G. Stuart Professor of Pediatric Oncology at Geisel, and co-director of the NCCC Cancer Control Program. "This study suggests otherwise – that underage youths are exposed to and engaged by alcohol marketing and this prompts initiation of drinking as well as transitions from trying to hazardous drinking." "Our study found that familiarity with and response to images of television alcohol marketing was associated with the subsequent onset of drinking across a range of outcomes of varying severity among adolescents and young adults, adding to studies suggesting that alcohol advertising is one cause of youth drinking," the authors conclude. "Current self-regulatory standards for televised alcohol advertising appear to inadequately protect underage youth from exposure to televised alcohol advertising and its probable effect on behavior." The above is a verbetum copy of the news release by Darthmouth-Hitchcock. For the abstract of the article, please click here>> EUCAM would like to point out that the findings are in line with the greater body of scientific articles on the effects of exposure to alcohol marketing. The findings indicate a need for strenghtening alcohol marketing regulations, in order to protect children from exposure to alcohol marketing. EUCAM was positively surprised to see the above article was picked up by many other websites: -The Huffington Post: More Evidence That Alcohol Ads Are Linked To Teen Binge Drinking -News Every Day: TV Alcohol Ads Increase Risk of Binge Drinking in Teens, Study Finds -The Daily Times: Alcohol ads on TV tied to youth drinking risk -Time: Here’s What Alcohol Advertising Does To Kids -Media Post: Alcohol Ads Linked To Underage Drinking -Science Daily: Alcohol ads on TV associated with drinking behavior in young people -Medical News Today: Exposure to alcohol ads on TV linked with underage drinking -H-Insurance: Exposure to alcohol ads on TV linked with underage drinking -Medical Daily: Underage Drinking May Stem From Alcohol Ads, Despite Older Intended Audience -University Herald: Alcohol Ads on TV Tied to Drinking Behavior in Young People

Author: Michael Siegel, Renee M. Johnson, Keshav Tyagi, Kathryn Power, Mark C. Lohsen, Amanda J. Ayers and David H. Jernigan Title: Alcohol Brand References in U.S. Popular Music, 2009–2011 Journal: Substance Use & Misuse 2013 48:14, 1475-1484

AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA This study aimed to assess the prevalence and context of alcohol brand references in popular music. Billboard Magazine year-end charts from 2009 to 2011 were used to identify the most popular songs in four genres: Urban, Pop, Country, and Rock. Of the 720 songs, 23% included an alcohol mention, and 6.4% included an alcohol brand mention. Songs classified as Urban had the highest percentage of alcohol mentions and alcohol brand mentions. The context associated with alcohol brand mentions was almost uniformly positive or neutral. Public health efforts may be necessary to reduce youth exposure to these positive messages about alcohol use.

Authors: Michael Siegel, William DeJong, Timothy S. Naimi, Erin K. Fortunato, Alison B. Albers, Timothy Heeren, David L. Rosenbloom, Craig Ross, Joshua Ostroff, Sergei Rodkin, Charles King, Dina L. G. Borzekowski, Rajiv N. Rimal, Alisa A. Padon, Raimee H. Eck and David H. Jernigan Title: Brand-Specific Consumption of Alcohol Among Underage Youth in the United States Journal: Alcoholism: Clinical and Experimental Research, 37: 1195–1203. doi: 10.1111/acer.12084

AbstractOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Background: Little is known about brand-specific alcohol consumption among underage youth, as existing information is collected at the level of alcoholic beverage type. This study identifies the alcohol brands consumed by a nationally representative sample of underage youth in the United States. Methods: We obtained a national sample of 1,032 underage youth, aged 13 to 20, using a pre-recruited Internet panel maintained by Knowledge Networks. Youth aged 18 to 20 were recruited directly from the panel via email invitation. Teens aged 13 to 17 were identified by asking adult panelists to identify a member of their household. The survey assessed the past 30-day consumption of 898 brands of alcohol among 16 alcoholic beverage types, including the frequency and amount of each brand consumed in the past 30 days. Market share for a given brand was calculated by dividing the total number of drinks for that brand in the past 30 days across the entire sample by the total number of drinks for all identified brands. Results: The alcohol brands with highest prevalence of past 30-day consumption were Bud Light (27.9%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 23.3 to 32.4%), Smirnoff malt beverages (17.0%, 95% CI 12.9 to 21.1%), and Budweiser (14.6%, 95% CI 11.0 to 18.3%). Brand market share was concentrated in a relatively small number of brands, with the top 25 brands accounting for nearly half of all market shares. Conclusions: Underage youth alcohol consumption, although spread out over several alcoholic beverage types, is concentrated among a relatively small number of alcohol brands. This finding has important implications for alcohol research, practice, and policy.