Current Status of Alcohol Marketing Policy – an urgent challenge for global governance
Alcohol marketing is an integral part of contemporary alcohol supply. During the past 50 years there has been a dramatic expansion in the sophistication of marketing communications and in the technological options and financial resources available. This provides a new challenge for alcohol policy, one which the research and policy worlds have yet to engage in strongly enough. Research evidence of the impact of alcohol marketing on the drinking of young people is now well established, as is the corollary to this, the ineffectiveness of ‘self regulation’ approaches. There are few examples in existence of regulatory frameworks which substantially restrict marketing but it is positive that these have largely withstood challenges brought under free trade agreements. Other aspects of the global governance environment, however, especially the active protection of marketing benefits by global alcohol producers and their front organisations, illustrate the particular difficulties of developing and implementing adequate public policy in this area. Increased independence of governments and intergovernmental organisations from the TNC sector in relation to alcohol marketing policy will be needed in order to build towards an effective global response. Lessons learned from the tobacco control field suggest the importance of an active and expanded NGO sector engaging in evidence informed policy debate.