Study on the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising

Client: European Commission | Sectors: Social Policy

Commissioned by the European Commission, Ecorys conducted a study on the exposure of alcohol advertising to minors. 

The aim of the study was to examine the extent to which minors are exposed to alcohol advertising. This refers to the amount of advertising, the different types of advertising and the turnover that suppliers receive on alcohol advertisements. The study showed that 7.3% of the total number of alcohol sightings on television adverts in 2013 were seen by minors (under age 18). This means that on average, a minor in the EU saw 200 alcohol adverts during one year (as compared to over 450 by an adult). 1.8% of all advertising seen by minors (under age 18) in 2013 was for alcoholic beverages (as compared to 2.2%. for ads seen by adults).

The study also showed that online services and the alcohol industry try to ensure minimal exposure through the implementation of measures and self-regulation. Yet, at the same time, minors have the perception to be exposed to alcohol advertising online. In addition, the study found that the most common themes employed in alcohol advertisements include the association of alcohol with sociability and the depiction of drinking with humorous tones. Respectively, 87% and 63% of 90 analysed TV advertisements and 33 online alcohol advertisements contained at least one element that can be considered appealing to minors. Furthermore, 25% of the analysed advertisements contained at least one of the elements described in the AVMSD, though this does not imply that the Directive was necessarily breached. 

The purpose of this study was to contribute to the ex-post evaluation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) and the Impact Assessment accompanying the proposal for a future revision of the AVMSD.

Study on the exposure of minors to alcohol advertising on TV and in online services

Key Experts

Kim Weistra Senior Consultant