“The use of sponsorship and advertising is necessary for premium brands to maintain market share in a very competitive environment. Anything that impedes this could have a detrimental impact on the potential of the wider agri-food sector.”
“Like every parent, I am of course concerned to ensure that Irish people, and especially our youth, treat drink responsibly. I believe that more focused and targeted education in primary and secondary schools is the best approach in achieving that. Indeed, I see involvement in sport as a positive conduit to more responsible use of alcohol.”
John Bryan, President, Irish Farmers’ Association
Longitudinal studies consistently suggest that exposure to media and commercial communications on alcohol is associated with the likelihood that adolescents will start to drink alcohol, and with increased drinking amongst baseline drinkers. Based on the strength of this association, the consistency of findings across numerous observational studies, temporality of exposure and drinking behaviours observed, dose-response relationships, as well as the theoretical plausibility regarding the impact of media exposure and commercial communications, we conclude that alcohol advertising and promotion increases the likelihood that adolescents will start to use alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol.
In 2009 Professor Iain Gilmore warned of “very little evidence that health messages work to prevent binge or harmful drinking“. Then Alcohol Concern Chief Exec Don Shenker also wrote of a “real concern that the very message ‘Why let the good times go bad’ will actually reinforce the notion that you need alcohol to have a good time”. Looking forward, Drinkaware has certainly not yet convinced the public health community at large of its role or ability to delivery activity that genuinely addresses alcohol misuse.
Hat tip: Niall Crumlish and Brian O’Connell