A newly released New Zealand study has found that alcohol advertising does not necessarily lead to an increase in consumption.
The study was done by the country’s Foundation for Advertising Research and looked at correlating data over the past 30 years.
It found that since 1987, alcohol advertising had increased by 15 per cent, however, actual consumption had decreased by 14 per cent in the same time period.
Commenting on the study, New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council executive director Nick Leggett said: “That makes it very hard to see any correlation between advertising and consumption, let alone a cause.
“The study clearly shows that restrictions on advertising don’t help to reduce consumption, and in fact may have the opposite effect, as shown in the study.
“Prior to 1992, alcohol advertising on radio and television was significantly restricted – advertisements weren’t allowed to mention brand or price. The graph shows that liberalising those rules didn’t lead to increased consumption.
“We hear so often that New Zealand is at ‘peak alcohol’ and that we have a crisis. Such calls ignore the facts, and it’s important that people can see the real data so they feel positive about their behaviour changes,” he said.
According to Legget, alcohol advertising informs people who already drink of new options on the market rather than enticing people who don’t drink to take it up.
He added: “Just as seeing a shampoo advertisement does not make you buy more shampoo, but rather influences your choice of shampoo when you are confronted by lots of different brands, so it is for a wine or beer advertisement.
“It’s not some nefarious conspiracy to hook non-drinkers onto alcohol, as the anti-alcohol lobby loves to try and make out. If alcohol advertising was about driving volume then it has been absolutely proven to be an abject failure, and the alcohol manufacturers would have given up long ago,” Leggett said.