EUCAM Comment on the conclusions of the British Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) on new data about the exposure of children and young people to alcohol advertising.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which, among other things, monitors alcohol advertising in the United Kingdom, recently announced with that children in the UK aged between 4 and 15 have seen fewer alcohol advertisements on television in recent years. See a message at (1) and the ASA study (2).

Children saw 27% fewer ads (for all products) on TV per week in 2017 than in 2008, and 65% fewer alcohol ads. The ASA attributes this remarkable fall to two main factors:

  • Children are watching less scheduled television programs and more online content. This means that children in the UK are seeing less than half as many TV adverts (for any product, not just alcohol)
  • However this decline in children’s TV viewing is not enough to account for the decline in alcohol advertising. The report therefore refers to “changes in marketing spend and behaviour” as the other main reason.

Andrew Misell, a director of the charity Alcohol Change UK published a report in 2018 on the self-regulation of the UK alcohol industry (3). He agrees with the ASA on the reasons for the reduction, but also warns that this does not necessarily mean children are seeing less alcohol advertising. There are indications from the alcohol industry that it is spending less on TV advertising and more on other media (mainly online), with the number of alcohol adverts on television falling in recent decades. This, or course, raises the possibility that children are simply viewing alcohol adverts online instead of on the television.

Wim van Dalen, European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Marketing (EUCAM)

Utrecht, The Netherlands.




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