Unique research shows that Dutch young people are often confronted with alcohol marketing

14 November 2020

Dutch young people are regularly confronted with alcohol marketing practices in supermarkets, catering establishments, cinemas, on television and social media. This has emerged from research commissioned by the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport into the reach and influence of 12-17 year olds through alcohol marketing practices.

However, the likelihood of young people being exposed to various forms of alcohol marketing differs between the five types of locations studied.

Breuer & Intraval, the Media Loket and Dialogic have visited supermarkets, catering establishments and cinemas for this study. Furthermore, the reach and media spending of alcohol advertisers on television were analysed and “non-spot” advertising was examined. An analysis was also made of marketing practices about 0.0 ABV variants. Finally, a monitor has been created to visualize alcohol marketing on social media.

Although there are large differences between supermarkets in the amount of alcohol marketing that is found, it can generally be said that there is a high degree of exposure through product placement. In almost all supermarkets (94%) the researchers saw alcoholic beverages displayed in an eye-catching place off the usual shelves.

Looking at catering establishments, the researchers particularly encountered premiums (logos on taps, draining mats, beer mats, glasses, etc.).

In two thirds (66%) of the 38 cinemas visited, the researchers found alcohol marketing in the form of premiums. Another frequently occurring form is advertisements recommending a 'combi-deal', a combination of a snack with an alcoholic drink. Commercials with alcohol advertising were shown in 26% of the cinemas. Alcohol commercials appear to be more common in 16+ films, but alcohol ads have also been seen in films with different viewers (12 years or younger and all ages).

On television, the chance of confrontation for young people aged 12-17 years (89% saw an average of 61.5 alcohol advertisements on television in the second half of 2019) is weighted by viewing time, just as high as for people in the age categories 18-30 years and 30+. An unexpected finding, given that the Dutch Media Act has a "time lock" regarding alcohol advertisements to limit exposure among young people.

On social media, young people are shown both sponsored alcohol advertisements and (intentional or non-intentional) alcohol advertisements via, for example, vlogs of influencers. This applies to all popular platforms. The impact of these alcohol ads is likely to be highest on Instagram and YouTube, as these are the most popular platforms among young people. It is striking that a large number of young people indicate that they (also) have and use an 18+ account. As a result, young people avoid age filters and the risk of exposure increases. The researchers consider this a point of attention.

Authors: Annelies Kruize, Ralph Mennes, Robert Pieper, Jessica Steur, Nick Jelicic & Peter Wiegman. Research Institute Breuer & Interval, Groningen, The Netherlands, 2020.



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