Randomized and true experiments

Randomized controlled trials (RCTs) are the most optimal design for inferring causality, but it has not frequently been conducted in this area. It is unlikely that these randomized controlled trials will be used in the future, besides impracticalities, it may be unethical to randomise participants or communities to exposure to specific advertising and/or marketing strategies in order to evaluate potentially harmful effects [1,2].

Most experimental studies that have been published evaluated exposure to a single type of advertising and evaluated immediate effects on either attitude or liking for the advertisements or drinking behaviour. Experimental studies might underestimate the overall effects of alcohol marketing, because only a limited number of key factors could be studied at once [1]. These experimental studies meet the complexity of the advertising and marketing that people are exposed to in their daily lives, and only evaluate effects post-exposure at a single time-point, so results can not be generalised to other settings [2].

Summaries of articles:

    [1] Anderson, P. (2007). The Impact of Alcohol Advertising: ELSA project report on the evidence to strengthen regulation to protect young people. Utrecht: National Foundation for Alcohol Prevention.