Alcohol advertising in U.S. is following regulations on federal and industry self-regulatory levels, finds new study. Authors of the “Regulating Alcohol Advertising: Content Analysis of the Adequacy of Federal and Self-Regulation of Magazine Advertisements, 2008–2010” report have analysed content of beer, spirits, and alcopop magazine advertisements to determine adherence to federal and voluntary advertising standards.
From the census of 1795 unique advertising creatives for beer, spirits, and alcopops that appeared 7,634 times in U.S. nationally available magazines between 2008 and 2010, only 23 ads were assessed as non-compliant with federal regulations, and 38 were not adhering to the industry self-regulations.
However, researcherts found that advertisers although following rules have often referred to culturally positive topics in terms of aspirational depictions. In addition, creatives included degrading and sexualized images, promoted risky behavior, and made health claims associated with low-calorie content.
In our paper one of our main findings is that the content is largely adherent to federal and industry codes but it’s still very problematic,”
– said to Reuters Katherine Smith, the study’s lead author and an associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore.
In the conclusion of the study researchers suggest, that existing codes and regulations are largely followed regarding content. However, they do not adequately protect against content that promotes unhealthy and irresponsible consumption and degrades potentially vulnerable populations in its depictions. According to the authors of the report further limitations and enhanced federal oversight may be necessary to protect public health.
Study was supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (cooperative agreement 5U58DP002072), and is a part of ongoing research from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) supported by CDC.
Alcohol industry representative finds the study useless, as it only showed that industry self-regulation is efficient and compliant with federal law.
“Over 98% of the ads the researchers reviewed met their own arbitrary and capacious criteria. They clearly state: ‘Advertisements largely adhered to existing regulations and codes; One can only conclude that this was a colossal waste of scarce taxpayer health care dollars.”
– Frank Coleman, a spokesperson for the Distilled Spirits Council, wrote to Reuters Health in an email.