Alcohol marketing

Alcohol marketing covers all the ways alcohol companies encourage us to buy their products.

This includes adverts on billboards and public transport, on TV and online, the way a product looks, where it is positioned in a shop, how much it costs, and whether it’s in a sale or part of a promotion. Alcohol is also marketed through sponsorship of sports or events.


What effect does alcohol marketing have?

We are all affected by marketing – it’s how companies persuade us to buy their products. Alcohol companies or ‘Big Alcohol’, spend millions of pounds each year to make us think positively about alcohol and encourage us to drink more.

They try to encourage positive attitudes towards alcohol, change individual behaviours and to create and sustain the idea that drinking alcohol is normal and even desirable.

We are all regularly exposed to alcohol marketing, including those who are most vulnerable to its effects. Exposure to alcohol marketing causes young people to start drinking earlier, to drink more if they are already drinking, and to drink at heavy or problematic levels.

People with (or at risk of) an alcohol problem are more likely to notice alcohol adverts and to find them appealing which can translate into increased alcohol use. People in recovery from an alcohol problem tell us that alcohol marketing is a risk to their recovery.


What is Alcohol Focus Scotland campaigning for?

The Scottish Government has significant power to legislate to protect people from alcohol marketing in several key areas. Alcohol Focus Scotland want to see legislation introduced to restrict:

  • Sponsorship of sports and other events by alcohol companies
  • Adverts in outdoor and public spaces
  • How visible alcohol is in shops

People want change: there is support for taking action to restrict marketing among the general public, people in recovery and children and young people.

What action can you take?

Support our campaign to protect children and young people from alcohol marketing.

Find out more

The figures

£5-10 billion
Amount that alcohol use costs Scotland per year