Commercials Don’t Add to Liquor Use, Says Study

Feb 14, 2002

NBC’s much maligned decision to advertise distilled liquors such as scotch, gin, rum and vodka, ends a voluntary ban on TV advertising that was made in 1948. Critics may be surprised to learn that ads for spirits on U.S. TV won’t affect people’s alcohol consumption. Electronic Media Online bases this assumption is on their research published in the September 2001 issue of the International Journal of Advertising.

The research examined countries that have no bans on broadcast advertising of alcohol beverages (Australia, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Portugal); countries that ban broadcast advertising of distilled spirits (Austria, Belgium, Canada, Ireland, Spain, the United Kingdom and the United States) and countries that prohibit broadcast advertising of all alcoholic beverages apart from light beer (Denmark, Finland, France, Norway and Sweden).

It found that alcoholic consumption in the Scandinavian nations is no less than in countries with only partial bans or no bans, after we control for other influences on drinking. Moreover, countries with complete bans on broadcast advertising of alcohol do not show any reduction in two key indicators of alcohol abuse: alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities and cases of cirrhosis of the liver.

Moderator Comment: Will television commercials for
spirits affect the consumption in the U.S.?

Talk about a unique selling proposition. NBC can now
go to spirits companies and tell them that they should be advertising because
it will not increase consumption. Wonder if they can charge extra for no response?
Anderson – Moderator

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