The Arsenal Emirates Stadium saw the launch of a new report, Foul Play? Alcohol marketing during UEFA Euro 2016, which highlighted how alcohol producers worked to circumvent legislation designed to protect children during the UEFA Euro 2016 football tournament.
Unveiled on the tenth anniversary of the European Healthy Stadia movement, researchers at the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, found over 100 alcohol marketing references per televised match programme in three countries – France, the UK and Ireland.
The 2017 edition of the Healthy Stadia conference explored the growing interaction between sports stakeholders, public health agencies and academic researchers, with presentations from over 40 speakers underlining the benefits of partnerships established between research institutions, clubs, venues and governing bodies.
Foul Play found that most marketing appeared in highly visible places, such as pitch-side advertising during the matches. This was the case, despite the fact that the tournament was held in France, where alcohol TV advertising and sports sponsorship is banned under the ‘Loi Évin’.
Katherine Brown, Director of the Institute of Alcohol Studies said:
“There is strong evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing encourages children to drink earlier and in greater quantities. The findings of this report show that alcohol companies are following in the footsteps of their tobacco colleagues by bending the rules on marketing restrictions putting children’s health at risk.”
An analysis of broadcast footage found that alcohol marketing appeared, on average, once every other minute. The majority took the form of ‘alibi’ marketing, whereby indirect brand references are used to promote a product, rather than a conventional logo or brand name. Carlsberg was the most featured brand, accounting for almost all references in each of the three countries, using their slogan ‘Probably the best in the world’ while avoiding the mentioning the product name. ‘Alibi’ marketing was a common practice of tobacco companies in sporting events when advertising restrictions were introduced.
Dr. Richard Purves, Principal Investigator, Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling said:
“Beamed to audiences across the world, major sporting events such as the UEFA EURO tournament, present a prime opportunity for alcohol companies to market directly to a global audience. In order to continue to protect children and young people from exposure to alcohol marketing, laws such as those in France need to be upheld and respected by all parties involved and not seen as something to be negotiated.”