The Guardian (UK) – Charity calls for ban on alcohol ads on pre-watershed TV and online

  • Post category:World News

Alcohol Concern cites research showing more than 1 million under-16-year-olds saw multiple drinks ads during World Cup

Alcohol Concern has called for a ban on TV and internet alcohol ads after conducting research claiming that well over a million under-16-year-olds saw multiple drinks commercials while watching England games during the World Cup.

The government-backed charity said research showed that 1.6 million under-16s were exposed to at least three alcohol ads during England’s game against Algeria, while 1.4 million saw at least four drinks commercials while watching the USA tie, in TV campaigns run by brands including Stella Artois, Magners, Fosters, Carling and WKD.

While none of the ad campaigns broke Advertising Standards Authority regulations, Alcohol Concern is nevertheless calling for a pre-9pm TV ad ban, and a blanket online advertising restriction, because the figures show that too many children are not being well enough protected by existing rules.

Alcohol Concern said a separate study revealed that 11- to 18-year-olds could be seeing as many as 1,600 alcohol TV ads per year.

“It is simply unacceptable that vast numbers of children are so frequently exposed to alcohol advertising, leading to higher levels of drinking among young people and increasingly higher levels of harm,” said Don Shenker, chief executive of Alcohol Concern.

“Alcohol producers and advertising regulators are clearly not taking their responsibilities seriously enough and only a watershed ban on TV and an internet ban will prevent the vast majority of children from being exposed to alcohol marketing.”

The ASA code states that alcohol ads cannot run in shows where the proportion of 10- to 15-year-olds viewing is 20% higher than the general population. Trade associations representing the drinks industry argue that calls for a ban are too heavy handed.

“Alcohol marketing in the UK is strictly regulated to ensure it is responsible and aimed at adults,” said David Poley, chief executive of drinks industry lobbying organisation Portman Group.

“Advertising of alcohol on TV is not allowed if the proportion of under-18s in the audience rises to a certain level. One cannot eliminate under-18s from the audience altogether without imposing a total advertising ban. There is very little evidence to suggest that children’s exposure to alcohol marketing is associated with either the onset of drinking or amount consumed.”


Source: The Guardian (UK), 19/10/10