Alcohol marketing resources
Realising our rights: How to protect people from alcohol marketing
In June 2022, Alcohol Focus Scotland and a group of international experts published a report exploring how alcohol marketing impacts our human rights and sets out the evidence on how alcohol marketing affects children and young people, people with or at risk of an alcohol problem and the general population. It presents recommendations on how to protect people from alcohol marketing.
- Read the full report
- Read the summary
- Read the infographic
- Watch the report launch on our YouTube page
Below are some additional resources included in the report which may be of interest.
Children and young people
Exposure to alcohol marketing is a cause of youth drinking. It leads young people to start drinking earlier, to drink more if they are already drinking, and to drink at heavy or problematic levels. Read Chapter 4 of AFS’s alcohol marketing report for a full overview of the evidence.
- Read our briefing on protecting children and young people from alcohol marketing.
- The relationship between exposure to alcohol marketing and underage drinking is causal. Researchers have concluded that exposure to alcohol marketing is a cause of youth drinking, using the same methodology that established the causal link between tobacco and cancer.
- Preventing Harm - Alcohol Marketing and Young People. This 2020 report from the Young Scot Health Panel makes recommendations to reduce the harm from alcohol advertising.
- "It's all around you, all the time". Children's Parliament investigates: an alcohol-free childhood. In this 2019 report from Children’s Parliament, primary school children recommend removing adverts for alcohol so that children can’t see them. Watch the accompanying film on YouTube.
In the past year, Alcohol Focus Scotland attended youth groups and organisations to hear children and young people’s views about alcohol marketing. In the last year, around 100 young people have told us how marketing impacts on them. Find out what they had to say through this animation and accompanying summary.
Please get in touch with Rebecca McColl, Involvement and Policy Coordinator, if you would like support in engaging with children and young people to gather their views on alcohol marketing.
People with or at risk of an alcohol problem
People with (or at risk of) an alcohol problem are also at increased risk from alcohol marketing. Read chapter 5 of AFS’s alcohol marketing report for comprehensive overview of the impact.
- Read our briefing on the impact of alcohol marketing on people in recovery
- The effect of alcohol marketing on people with, or at risk of, an alcohol problem: A rapid literature review. This 2022 literature review by the University of Nottingham found that alcohol can act as a trigger for people in recovery from alcohol problems and poses a risk to their recovery. Read the summary.
- Alcohol Everywhere: A Report by the Alcohol Action Group. This 2022 report from the Scottish Families Affected by Alcohol & Drugs (SFAD) Alcohol Action Group highlights how people feel alcohol is prevalent in their communities and their support for measures to restrict alcohol advertising.
- Watch Tom Bennett, a member of the expert network who is in long-term recovery, speak about the impact of alcohol marketing on people in recovery.
During the past year, Alcohol Focus Scotland has been speaking to the recovery community about alcohol marketing. Through a mix of focus groups, individual interviews, and surveys, we have engaged with more than 150 people. Their experiences are highlighted in this animation and accompanying summary.
Please get in touch with Marc Buchanan, Involvement and Partnerships Coordinator, if you would like support in engaging with people in recovery to gather their views on alcohol marketing.
Research related to alcohol sponsorship of sport
Several studies have focused on alcohol sponsorship of sport, including in Scotland.
- Alcohol sponsorship of football: Examining the nature of sponsorship relations for professional football teams across countries with varied restrictions on alcohol marketing. This 2022 report from the University of Stirling found that in comparison to other European leagues with varying levels of restrictions, Scotland has a higher proportion of alcohol industry sponsors.
- The extent, nature, and frequency of alcohol sport sponsorship in professional football and rugby union in Scotland. This 2020 study from the University of Stirling found that while only a small proportion of football and rugby union sponsors are alcohol companies, the wraparound nature of alcohol sponsorship means that when it is present, it is frequent and pervasive. Read AFS' summary and recommendations from this research.
- Foul Play? Alcohol marketing during UEFA Euro 2016. This 2017 report found that although the overall proportion of direct brand references was low, the high proportion of indirect references demonstrates that alcohol producers were able to circumvent the host country, France's alcohol marketing restrictions using ‘alibi marketing’.
Learning from other countries
- Alcohol Marketing Restrictions: Learning from International Implementation. Research from the University of Stirling takes a case study approach to identify and learn from the experiences of developing and implementing alcohol marketing restrictions in seven European countries.
- Review of alcohol marketing restrictions in seven European countries. Public Health Scotland published two reports in 2022 which review alcohol marketing restrictions in seven European countries. They look at why they are used, how they are monitored and enforced, and how effective they are.
- Tackling NCDS. 'Best buys' and other recommended interventions for the prevention and control of noncommunicable diseases. In 2017, the World Health Organization named bans or comprehensive restrictions on alcohol advertising as one of three ‘best buy’ policies - the most effective and cost–effective interventions to address alcohol harm.
- The SAFER technical package. In 2019, WHO’s SAFER initiative included enforcing bans or restrictions on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotion as one its five key alcohol policy interventions.
Scottish Government alcohol marketing consultation
The Scottish Government recently consulted on alcohol advertising and promotion. The consultation closed on 9 March 2023. The Scottish Government have indicated that the responses will be analysed by an independent contractor and published in a report, before they consider possible restrictions.
Many thanks to everyone who responded to the consultation.