In Education by Clyde Mooney

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The Foundation for Advertising Research recently released a study suggesting alcohol advertising does not increase consumption, in conflict with the rhetoric of prohibitionists.

The Foundation for Advertising Research (FFAR) operates in Australia and New Zealand, providing expert advice on matters relating to advertising and marketing for the purpose of “ensuring policy-makers are enabled to make evidence-based decisions and policy”.

Its latest study looked at data on alcohol advertising across all mediums from 1987 to 2017, and compared it to consumption (in persons aged 15+).

Key amongst findings was that advertising had increased a total of 15 per cent in the period, while consumption had decreased 14 per cent. The 30 years also saw the overall number of alcohol licences rise significantly.

“That makes it very hard to see any correlation between advertising and consumption, let alone a cause,” offered New Zealand Alcohol Beverages Council executive director Nick Leggett.

In the face of calls by conservative activists to reduce or ban advertising of alcohol, Leggett and the research suggest advertising is in fact about educating existing drinkers on new options, as opposed to enticing non-drinkers to start drinking.

“It’s not some nefarious conspiracy to hook non-drinkers onto alcohol, as the anti-alcohol lobby loves to try and make out.”