Hastings, Gerard; Brooks, Oona; Stead, Martine; Angus, Kathryn; Anker, Thomas and Farrell, Tom
Alcohol advertising: the last chance saloon.
BMJ, 340(23 Jan),
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Research has established that alcohol advertising,1-3 like that for tobacco4 and fast food,5-7 influences behaviour. It encourages young people to drink alcohol sooner and in greater quantities. From a public health perspective, advertising of alcohol should clearly be limited. The United Kingdom has opted for a system of self regulatory controls that focuses primarily on the content of advertisements, with some limitations on the channels that can be used. This is overseen by the Advertising Standards Authority, through the Committee of Advertising Practice, which represents the interests of advertisers, agencies, and media owners.
As part of its alcohol inquiry, the House of Commons health select committee wanted to explore the success of self regulation. It obtained a large number of internal marketing documents from alcohol producers and their communications agencies in order to examine the thinking and strategic planning that underpin alcohol advertising and hence show not just what advertisers are saying, but why they are saying it. Here we present the key insights to emerge.
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