Reducing harm caused by alcohol

Alcohol marketing

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.

AFS had created a list of key resources and contacts to support people to respond.

Many thanks to everyone who responded.

Read Alcohol Focus Scotland's response.

The impact of alcohol marketing

The Alcohol Marketing Expert Network, made up of international experts in alcohol marketing, research, law and policy, recommends that countries introduce comprehensive statutory restrictions on alcohol marketing to protect and fulfil people's human rights, including their right to health.

The high visibility of alcohol marketing means we are constantly bombarded with positive messages about how drinking can enhance our lives. Marketing has become increasingly sophisticated and more difficult to avoid as alcohol companies invest millions of pounds in seeking to build long-term relationships between us and their brands.

Alcohol marketing affects us all. It makes us think positively about alcohol and encourages us to drink more. But some groups are more affected. Alcohol marketing leads children and young people to start drinking earlier, to drink more, and to drink at problematic levels. People in recovery from alcohol problems talk about how alcohol marketing can act as a trigger and poses a risk to their recovery.


The Alcohol Marketing Expert Network recommends countries:

  • Introduce statutory restrictions on alcohol marketing activities, including:
    • advertising in outdoor and public spaces
    • sponsorship of sports and events
    • branded merchandise
    • advertising in print publications
  • Ensure alcohol displays and promotions in shops are only visible to those planning to browse or purchase alcohol.
  • Stop price being used as a promotional tool.
  • Mandate the display of health information on all alcohol packaging.
  • Ensure restrictions are comprehensive and explicitly include all forms of brand marketing, including identifiable fonts, colours, and taglines, not just brand names.

To enable countries to put in place comprehensive statutory restrictions on alcohol marketing, the Network recommends that the World Health Organization develops an international approach to regulating digital alcohol marketing as part of a Framework Convention on Alcohol Control.

Support for marketing restriction

Almost half (48%) of people in Scotland support a ban on all alcohol advertising - with higher levels of support than opposition for this measure.

Two thirds (62%) of people support restricting advertising, sponsorship, and promotion online and in outdoor and public spaces.

Further information


Find out more about alcohol sport sponsorship