Call for alcohol advertising restrictions during TV football

12th September, 2013 by Amy Hopkins

UK researchers have said restrictions on alcohol marketing campaigns aired during televised football matches “may be justified”.

Scientists call for alcohol advertising restrictions in TV football

According to the study, current alcohol advertising restrictions are not adequate during televised football matches

A new study by public health specialists has shown that football fans see around two references to alcohol brands every minute when they watch a match on TV, as well as formal advertising during commercials.

In particular, the researchers – who work for both universities and the NHS – said that due to the vast numbers of children who watch football matches on television, alcohol advertising might encourage youth drinking.

Andy Graham, a public health specialist working for the NHS who helped conduct the research, watched more than 18 hours of football matches aired on the BBC, ITV and Sky, noting every mention or visual of an alcohol brand on screen.

The results, published in the academic journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, revealed that in the six matches studied, there were 2,042 visual references, 32 verbal mentions and 17 alcohol commercials.

The team identified a wide use non-traditional advertising methods as the main source of marketing spending (£600 million out of an overall spend of £800 million), including social media, viral campaigns and sponsorship.

Researchers said that current advertising regulations do not adequately restrict this type of embedded marketing.

The conclusion in the paper reads: “In the UK, alcohol marketing is subject to industry self-regulation with a focus on not appealing directly to children, encouraging over-consumption or associating alcohol with social or sexual success, irresponsible behaviour or illegal drugs.

“This fails to reflect the nature of alcohol marketing in contemporary televised sport where most marketing is constant repetition of simple logos.

Claiming that non-traditional advertising where alcohol consumption and sport are associated might actually “reflect one aspect of social success”, the report continues: “Restriction of all alcohol sports sponsorship, as seen for tobacco, may be justified.”

This latest call for further alcohol advertising restrictions in the UK follows a bid by the South African government to ban all alcohol advertising in the country.

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