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No relationship between alcohol advertising and consumption

No relationship between alcohol advertising and consumption, study shows

There is no relationship between alcohol advertising spend and consumption in New Zealand, according to a new study by the Foundation for Advertising Research.

“This is clear from data collected over the past 30 years,” says NZ Alcohol Beverages Council Executive Director Nick Leggett.

“It shows that since 1987, while the spend on advertising of alcohol was rising by 15 per cent, per-person consumption of alcohol was dropping by 14 per cent. At the same time, the number of alcohol licences was also rising significantly.

“That makes it very hard to see any correlation between advertising and consumption, let alone a cause.

“The study clearly shows that restrictions on advertising don’t help to reduce consumption, and in fact may have the opposite effect, as shown in the study.”

“Prior to 1992, alcohol advertising on radio and television was significantly restricted – advertisements weren’t allowed to mention brand or price. The graph shows that liberalising those rules didn’t lead to increased consumption.

“We hear so often that New Zealand is at ‘peak alcohol’ and that we have a crisis. Such calls ignore the facts, and it’s important that people can see the real data so they feel positive about their behaviour changes."

Nick Leggett says advertising a product is about winning-over customers who are already in the market for that product, noting that it is a legitimate function of a business seeking to trade and prosper.

“Just as seeing a shampoo advertisement does not make you buy more shampoo, but rather influences your choice of shampoo when you are confronted by lots of different brands, so it is for a wine or beer advertisement.

"It’s not some nefarious conspiracy to hook non-drinkers onto alcohol, as the anti-alcohol lobby loves to try and make out. If alcohol advertising was about driving volume then it has been absolutely proven to be an abject failure, and the alcohol manufacturers would have given up long ago.”

Graph: Annual liquor advertising spend

ENDS


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