Literature study

How to evaluate alcohol marketing regulations: A proposed evidence based framework

Evidence based criteria of effective alcohol marketing regulations
As described in previous chapters, a literature search in peer-reviewed journals as well as grey literature resulted in the identification of criteria for effective alcohol marketing regulations. In this chapter, we aim to develop a framework to provide a tool to examine the alcohol marketing regulation’s potential effectiveness. The expected influence on drinking behaviour of children and adolescents is crucial here.

Volume restrictions
Volume restrictions are necessary to protect people against the quantity or location of alcohol advertisements that reach young people. Volume restrictions that prohibit (a) marketing of certain types of alcoholic beverages; (b) alcohol marketing on certain types of media; (c) alcohol marketing at certain times or places are expected to be only effective if they fulfil the following criteria:

The volume restrictions proposed are not merely symbolic policies but contribute substantially to the total volume of alcohol advertising to which adolescents are exposed; no significant substitution effects arise (e.g. shift to other media or price decrease);

Content restrictions
Although content restrictions do not account for the cumulative effects of marketing campaigns that often reach consumers by several sources (Hawkes, 2005), content regulations can protect all consumers against misleading or deceptive alcohol advertisements and in particular young people against attractive advertisements. To protect young people effectively against attractive advertisements, content restrictions should fulfil the following criteria:

Content restrictions should address all elements that have shown to be appealing to young people (e.g. lifestyle images, humour).

Content restrictions should limit advertisements that young people find appealing even if these are not specifically targeting minors or are specifically appealing to minors (but to adults as well).
Alcohol advertisements should be evaluated according to young people’s interpretation and not according to the intention of the advertiser.

Supporting system
The effectiveness of alcohol marketing regulations depends not solely on these content and/or volume restrictions, but also on the system that supports them. Elements of an effective regulation system are:

A supporting legal context: no conflicting regulations on the supra-national or national level and a legal backstop to support the enforcement of the restrictions.

Commitment of all stakeholders to increase the support and adherence of the restrictions:
A. policymakers;
B. civil society (public health advocates/consumer representatives);
C. industry related stakeholders (If there is a supporting legal context and an effective complaint and sanction procedure, the support of the civil society and industry related stakeholders might be less relevant.)
Transparency: Available provisions of information to the public at every stage of the regulation process.

Pre-screening system: To prevent exposure to advertisements that are non compliant with the restrictions.

Effective complaint system: Easy access to and support from the public.
Independent advertising committee: Evaluation by parties independent from commercial interests (not by adverting industry related or alcohol industry related) but by judges, public health advocates or consumer representatives.

Effective sanctions: sanctions that are expected to be most effective are withdraw broadcasting rights and substantial financial penalties. Sanctions that are expected to be less effective are bad publicity or voluntary action.

A. Independent from commercial interests;
B. Routinely & Systematically monitoring the content and volume of alcohol marketing;
C. Include also “unmeasured” types of alcohol marketing practices;
D. Availability Marketing data to third parties (government, academic institutes or civil society).

Coverage and flexibility: should cover the entire range of forms of marketing activities and should be updated continuously.

Effective alcohol marketing regulations - a proposed framework to evaluate existing alcohol marketing regulationsEffective alcohol marketing regulations - a proposed framework to evaluate existing alcohol marketing regulations (1,46 MB)

policy-report---effective-alcohol-marketing-regulations.pdfpolicy-report---effective-alcohol-marketing-regulations.pdf (956 kB)

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