The European Sponsorship Association (ESA) has responded positively to the research findings into the effects of sporting involvement and alcohol sponsorship on underage drinking reported on in last week’s Bulletin. The report concluded that a ban on sponsorship of sporting events would have little effect on youth alcohol consumption. Carried out by Dr Fiona Davies, lecturer in Marketing at the University of Cardiff, the report adds weight to the arguments put forward by ESA over recent months in response to criticism regarding the rights of alcohol brands to sponsor sporting events.
Commenting on the report’s findings, ESA Chairman, Karen Earl said, “We are not at all surprised by the findings of this report, indeed there was a similar set of results from research completed in 2008 in New Zealand. What we have always argued is that sponsorship and other marketing disciplines do not actually encourage people to start drinking alcohol or increase consumption levels. However, they can direct consumers to a particular company, product or brand but that is very different and is the fundamental point that needs to be stressed”.
A recent report on alcohol published by the UK Government’s Health Committee did not fully represent the alcohol sponsorship landscape, according to ESA. The association had submitted a detailed paper to the Health Committee outlining steps being taken by organisations involved in alcohol sponsorship with regard to responsible marketing activity. However, the report did not take into account, according to ESA, the considerable self-regulation activity currently undertaken by rights holders and sponsors alike.