View this report
Alcohol sponsorship of sport is a contested issue, with the major medical and public health institutions in Europe calling for a ban, similar to the ban on tobacco sports sponsorship. This report reviews the available literature on the relationship between exposure to alcohol sports sponsorship and consumption. A number of studies from high income countries conclude that exposure to alcohol sponsorship is associated with significantly increased rates of hazardous drinking amongst schoolchildren and adult sportspeople.
The current EU policy framework for regulating alcohol marketing, the Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMSD), stipulates that alcohol advertising should not link alcohol consumption to driving. However, an analysis of the F1 website identified three teams with alcohol company sponsorship agreements: William Martini Racing (Martini), Force India (Smirnoff and Kingfisher) and McLaren Honda (Johnnie Walker). In each of the three teams the sponsor’s alcohol brand is highly visible on the uniforms for drivers and crew and on the team cars.
Further analysis of the alcohol sponsored team websites discovered that the risk of drink-driving is absent from two teams’ promotional material (Force India and Williams Martini Racing). One team (McLaren Honda) has produced a campaign promoting greater awareness of drink driving, however the content of this initiative sits on the alcohol brand (Jonnie Walker), sponsor’s Facebook page and could therefore be seen more as a branding exercise.
An alcohol brand frequency analysis conducted during the F1 Monaco Grand Prix 2014 race shows there were on average 11 promotional references to alcohol per minute. All references during the race were for spirits and vermouths, predominately Johnnie Walker and Martini – placed strategically at locations with relatively lengthy camera exposure.
The authors of this report concluded that F1 racing has the highest level of alcohol brand exposure of any sports event reported in peer reviewed literature, with spirit and vermouth brands predominate. They argue that such exposure, during the world’s most prominent motor racing event, contradicts the spirit of the current EU regulations on alcohol marketing.
View this report