WHO, 2022


Cross-border marketing of alcohol is an increasingly significant part of the marketing of alcohol. In the past, cross-border marketing was found in the form of satellite television, radio, foreign magazines and newspapers. These forms of cross-border media continue, but the arrival of the Internet and the explosion in digital media platforms, in particular social media, have increased the prevalence of cross-border alcohol marketing in all countries. Other aspects increasing the cross-border character of alcohol marketing are the cross-border reach and modes of operation of the TNACs in terms of sponsorship of sports and cultural events with cross-border appeal and dissemination, and their development, direction and implementation of links across national borders for marketing campaigns and activities for their global and national alcohol brands. 
Countries that are concerned about the exposure of populations to alcohol marketing and its deleterious effects on health and well-being may adopt comprehensive bans or restrictions on marketing, including inflowing and outflowing cross-border marketing. Statutory regulation is the most effective approach, although governments may also consider tightly demarcated and supervised co-regulatory arrangements, with civil society groups and industry involved in policy implementation. 
Actors with conflicts of interest should not be involved in the policy-making process, which, as stated in the Global alcohol strategy, should be guided and formulated by government and public health interests based on public health evidence. Action cannot be left to self-regulation by the industry. Industry self-regulatory schemes lack evidence of effectiveness in reducing levels of drinking and rates of alcohol problems. The key role for the industry is to cease, or refrain from, marketing its products in breach of statutory regulations and public health goals, and especially marketing which reaches children, heavy drinkers and abstainers.
Because of the cross-border aspects of alcohol marketing, it is thus also critical that states commit to assisting each other in regulating marketing. There are challenges in securing regulatory enforcement across state borders, but these can be minimized through supportive multilateral cooperation. Regular consultation between states – for sharing of information about cross-border marketing and regulatory challenges and successes – is vital for effective cooperation. Such processes of regular consultation would be facilitated by the development of institutional arrangements, the creation of a secretariat and regular conferences of parties. This multilateral action can be supported by WHO or could be under other multilateral auspices pursued in other forums. The pursuit of common goals by states can form the foundation for the future development of formal arrangements to improve the governance of alcohol marketing, including cross-border marketing, in the form of an international code or framework convention.

Key Messages:

1. Much of today’s alcohol marketing has a cross-border aspect to it, and control of cross-border marketing must be an integral part of a national effort to limit harms from alcohol.
2. At the national level, control or prohibition of alcohol marketing, including its cross-border aspects, should be an integral part of effective public health strategies to limit harms from alcohol.
3. At the international level, the cross-border aspects of alcohol marketing mean that its effective control requires collaboration between states.
4. Some degree of harmonization in the approaches to cross-border marketing in different countries or a consensus on the need for action will often be a necessary precursor to successful bi-lateral or multilateral international collaboration.
5. Such collaboration would be strengthened by regular international consultation, coordination by a secretariat, and by international agreements.


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