Alcohol advertising generally leads to higher alcohol consumption

University of Amsterdam

Alcohol marketing generally leads to higher alcohol consumption, also among minors. This is shown by a study by the University of Amsterdam in collaboration with the University of Twente, prompted by the Dutch National Prevention Agreement. The research systematically charted the effects of alcohol marketing. It did not reveal whether this also contributes to higher alcohol consumption among pregnant women, heavy drinkers or addicts.

man watches alcohol advertisement on Ipad

Hanneke Hendriks and Eva van Reijmersdal of the University of Amsterdam, in collaboration with the University of Twente and Tactus Verslavingszorg (Tactus Addiction Care) and with the help of literature research, have systematically charted existing knowledge on the scope and consequences of alcohol marketing.

The study not only shows that this type of marketing can lead to increased alcohol consumption, but also that it is widespread in the Netherlands and reaches many minors. The marketing includes channels such as TV commercials, advertising columns, event sponsoring, posts and tweets by alcohol brands and advertising on social media. Above all, the increase in alcohol-related content and alcohol marketing on social media requires attention, say the researchers. ‘Several studies show that young people often encounter alcohol ­marketing on social media. In this context it’s often not clear who has initiated this content, and there is also a lack of clear rules within and between countries,’ explains Hanneke Hendriks.

It transpired that almost nothing is known about the effects of marketing for 0.0% beverages and the growing market share of this new segment, and the researchers conclude that further research is required here.

National Prevention Agreement: making the Netherlands healthier

The research was carried out as part of the National Prevention Agreement (2018) which sets out goals and measures for making the Netherlands healthier. Besides problematic alcohol consumption, the focus is also on smoking and obesity. The agreement includes two agreements on marketing of alcoholic beverages:

  1. Prevent marketing of alcoholic beverages from contributing to problematic alcohol consumption.
  2. Strive to ensure that alcohol marketing does not reach and influence young people, or does this as little as possible. This goes further than banning alcohol marketing that is aimed at young people.

Problematic alcohol consumption

Problematic alcohol consumption has major consequences. It not only has harmful consequences for the consumer but also for those directly around them and for society as a whole. ZonMw is funding this research with the aim of gaining greater and innovative insights into preventative measures and effective treatments.

Dr. H. (Hanneke) Hendriks

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

CW : Persuasive Communication

Dr. E.A. (Eva) van Reijmersdal

Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences

CW : Persuasive Communication

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