Daily Archives: 19/01/2015

Call for ban on alcohol advertising at sport events in New Zealand & UK

Picked this news story up in the run up to Christmas in the New Zealand press:  Call for ban on alcohol advertising at sport events

The Government has been told to end alcohol sponsorship of sports clubs and ban any advertising of beer, wine and spirits during televised matches by a ministerial forum.  The forum, chaired by former rugby league coach and businessman Graham Lowe, concluded after a two-year inquiry that the total cost of alcohol-related harm in this country was “enough to justify further restrictions on alcohol advertising and sponsorship”.

The six-person panel was set up by former Justice Minister Judith Collins as part of alcohol law reforms in 2012.  In its report, the forum said it had found there was no single drinking culture in New Zealand and many people drank responsibly. It acknowledged that alcohol advertising and sponsorship was just one factor in influencing consumption of alcohol.  But it also recognised an association between exposure to alcohol promotions, an earlier age of initiation to drinking alcohol, and increased consumption.

“In addition, we understand there is compelling evidence that early initiation to drinking alcohol and increased consumption are predictive of, and associated with, increased experience of alcohol-related harm.”

The forum made 14 recommendations designed to reduce young peoples’ exposure to alcohol promotions.  These included major changes to liquor companies’ sponsorship of televised and grassroots sports, including a long-term goal of banning alcohol sponsorship from all sports.  It also recommended banning alcohol advertising during streamed and broadcast sporting events, from events at which more than 10 per cent of the audience was under 18, and further restrictions on the hours at which alcohol adverts could be broadcast on radio and television.

The forum’s report said this would threaten the sustainability of many sporting clubs and events and recommended new initiatives to support sporting, cultural and music events that “might have ordinarily had access to alcohol sponsorship funds”.

Justice Minister Amy Adams said further work would be required on the feasibility and the impact of the proposals.  She said the forum was unable to consider the full effect of the proposals. Officials would report back to her again in mid-2015.  The Association of Alcohol Advertisers expressed concern about the recommendations, saying bans on alcohol promotions were “extreme” and not backed by evidence.

Recommendations:

1. Ban alcohol sponsorship of all streamed and broadcast sports
2. Ban alcohol sponsorship of sports [long-term]
3. Ban alcohol sponsorship (naming rights) at all venues
4. Ban alcohol sponsorship of cultural and music events where 10% or more of participants and audiences are younger than 18
5. Introduce a sponsorship replacement funding programme
6. Introduce a targeted programme to reduce reliance on alcohol sponsorship funding
7. Ban alcohol advertising during streamed and broadcast sporting events
8. Ban alcohol advertising where 10% or more of the audience is younger than 18
9. Further restrict the hours for alcohol advertising on broadcast media
10. Continue to offset remaining alcohol advertising by funding positive messaging across all media
11. Introduce additional restrictions on external advertising on licensed venues and outlets
12. Establish an independent authority to monitor and initiate complaints about alcohol advertising and sponsorship
13. Establish a mechanism to identify and act on serious or persistent breaches of advertising standards
14. Establish a multi-stakeholder committee to periodically review and assess Advertising Standards Complaints Board decisions and pre-vetted advertising

Here’s a link to the Ministerial Forum on Alcohol Advertising and Sponsorship and the full report.

Extreme and not backed by evidence?  How about all the evidence that supported the wholesale banning of tobacco advertising to reduce ill-health and deaths through smoking – is that not enough??  I’m interested if any one from New Zealand is reading this and would be happy to comment on what they think, Mrs D are you there?  Me?  I’d ban alcohol advertising entirely like they did with tobacco.  Then there are no rules for them to try to bend or work-around.

Plus there was calls for this in the UK over Christmas too with this news article in The Guardian:

Ban alcohol firms from sponsoring sports clubs and events, doctors urge

Leading doctors are demanding a ban on alcohol firms sponsoring sports clubs and events because they claim that the “outrageous” practice is fuelling underage drinking by children.

The leaders of Britain’s nurses, A&E specialists and hospital doctors are among those urging ministers to outlaw the sort of deals that have seen Everton and Celtic football clubs agree multimillion pound tie-ups to advertise beer and cider brands on the front of their players’ shirts.

In a letter to the Guardian, a group of medical leaders, public health campaigners and health charities are calling for the action because alcohol sponsorship of sport has become “as commonplace as advertising for cereal or soap powder”.

The letter says: “Shouldn’t our national sports be inspiring our children to lead healthy and positive lifestyles? It would be considered outrageous if high-profile teams like Everton or Celtic were to become brand ambassadors for tobacco, and so why is it acceptable for alcohol?”

The letter claims: “Self-regulation of alcohol advertising isn’t working when it allows drink brands to dominate sporting events that attract children and adults, creating automatic associations between alcohol brands and sport that are cumulative, unconscious and built up over years.”

The signatories also bolster their plea to ministers by adding: “Importantly, evidence shows that exposure to alcohol advertising leads young people to drink more and to drink at an earlier age.”

The letter’s signatories include Professor Jane Dacre, president of the Royal College of Physicians, which represents hospital doctors; Dr Peter Carter, chief executive of the Royal College of Nursing; Dr Mark Porter, chair of council at the British Medical Association; and Dr Clifford Mann, president of the College of Emergency Medicine, which speaks on behalf of A&E doctors.

They want the government to intervene, and claim that public opinion supports introducing a ban on alcohol advertising of sport. “Let’s take action to protect our children by ensuring that the sports we watch promote healthy lifestyles and inspire participation, not a drinking culture. Let’s make alcohol sports sponsorship a thing of the past,” they say.

“Evidence from the UK and abroad shows exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship leads schoolchildren and sportspeople to drink more. Given the hundreds of thousands of pounds channelled into sponsorship deals, it’s not surprising they boost sales,” said Katherine Brown, director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, an independent thinktank.

“It’s obvious that children growing up idolising sporting heroes with beer brands blazoned across their chests will develop deep-rooted positive attitudes towards drinking. It’s also obvious that high profile alcohol advertising via sponsorship deals work to normalise what is in fact an unnatural association between drinking and sport,” Brown added.

HEAR HEAR!!