A recent study in Britain showed that children are more familiar with alcohol brands than they are with many snack food products. The study, sponsored by Alcohol Concern, surveyed 401 children and found that twice as many recognized Carlsberg beer than they did Mr. Kipling, a popular British snack food brand, or Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Alcohol Concern believes the study’s findings to be an indicator of the power of marketing to influence young minds. Mark Leyshon, a representative of that organization said, “Research shows that children who are exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion are more likely to start to use alcohol, have positive expectations about alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol. It’s clear that more effective controls are needed.”
Some in the alcohol industry disagree with Leyshon, including Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the Portman Group, who said that there are already rules in place to prevent targeting of children and that these rules are “rigorously enforced.” However, a representative from England’s Department of Culture, Media, and Sport, said that while there are currently protections in place, they will need to be continuously monitored “to ensure that there is sufficient protection for the public, particularly children and young people, including the regulation of new digital media.”