A new study published in the journal Alcohol & Alcoholism today has found alcohol adverts may commonly appeal to underage adolescents. Half of 11-17-year-olds surveyed reacted positively to the adverts featuring Fosters and Smirnoff brands (53% and 52% respectively), and a third reacted positively to an advert featuring the Haig Club brand (34%).

Among adolescents who had never drunk alcohol, those who had positive reactions to the adverts were around one and a half times more likely to report being susceptible to drink in the next year.

This study builds on earlier research establishing underage adolescents are aware of various alcohol marketing activities, leading the researchers to conclude that current regulations are inadequate in protecting young people from being exposed to content that does appeal to them and influences their behaviour.

The research used data from a sample of 2,500 11-17-year-olds in the Youth Alcohol Policy Survey, an online cross-sectional survey of adolescents conducted by YouGov for Cancer Research UK in April and May 2017.

Read the study: Boniface S, Critchlow N, Severi K, MacKintosh AM, Hooper L, Thomas C and Vohra J (2021). Underage Adolescents’ Reactions to Adverts for Beer and Spirit Brands and Associations with Higher Risk Drinking and Susceptibility to Drink: A Cross-Sectional Study in the UK. Alcohol & Alcoholism. DOI: 10.1093/alcalc/agab018.