247127 Alcohol industry "responsible drinking" messages in 2011: New problems and policy recommendations

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:30 PM

Sarah Mart, MS, MPH , Research & Policy, Alcohol Justice, San Rafael, CA
Alcohol industry messages promoting an undefined concept of responsible drinking have proliferated since the 1980's. Researchers have criticized these campaigns for vagueness, pro-drinking sentiment, and increasing the industry's favor with the general public rather than reducing underage consumption or related harm. Studies have found that beer companies spend significantly less money on these campaigns than on product promotion; place fewer responsible drinking advertisements than ones promoting their brands; and overall, the amount of responsibility advertising has decreased in previous years. Despite the lack of findings to demonstrate the effectiveness of responsible drinking messaging in achieving public health outcomes, the industry has made these messages a tentpole for their corporate public relations plans. Previous studies focused on television campaigns, and entire campaigns associated with beer. Yet in 2011, spirits and alcopops brands are well known to youth audiences, many of whom access these messages in magazine and online formats. Marin Institute decided to examine the frequency, location, size and content of responsible drinking messages from beer, spirits and alcopops brands found in magazines, product web sites and social media such as Facebook. We compared the size of the responsible drinking messages to the size of the entire product advertisements. We also reviewed advertisements containing these messages in light of the respective beer or spirits self-regulatory codes. We will discuss policy implications of these findings for both the alcohol industry and the media, including recommendations for size, content, and context of these messages.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Describe current alcohol industry responsible drinking messages for beer and spirits brands, including alcopops Compare industry responsible drinking message and advertisement content to the industry's self-regulatory codes Identify key policy recommendations to address positive brand and industry sentiments driven by corporate responsible drinking messages

Keywords: Alcohol, Advocacy

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I research and advocate for reasonable public health policy solutions to alcohol industry tactics such as alcohol advertising.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.