Probably Illegal: Carlsberg Violates French Law During UEFA Euro 2016
A new study entitled “Foul Play: Alcohol Marketing During UEFA Euro 2016″ shows that Carlsberg chose to ignore the spirit of the French law governing alcohol advertising. Researchers found more than 100 alcohol marketing references per televised match program in Britain, and in France.
The study was carried out by researchers at the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling and funded by the Institute of Alcohol Studies (IAS), Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems (SHAAP), and Alcohol Action Ireland.
Pervasive alcohol ads during Euro 2016
The study shows that the average number of alcohol marketing references per minute was 0.69 in French broadcasts, 0.65 in the UK broadcasts, and 0.59 in Irish broadcasts. Most references appeared during the match, where the footage was the same in all three countries. The most popular location and format was electronic pitch-side advertising. Almost all the marketing references were indirect (i.e. the brand was only identi able from signi ers such as phrases from the brand slogan). There were limited differences between the three countries.
Big Alcohol: big on unlawful marketing activity
The researchers conclude that the high proportion of indirect references demonstrates that alcohol producers were able to circumvent the Loi Évin using ‘alibi marketing’. The limited differences between the three countries highlight the importance of a host nation’s regulations for international tournaments. Regulations to limit alcohol advertising need to be rigorously enforced and monitored, with clear lines of accountability explicitly outlined in law.
Already during the tournament, civil society and researchers issued complaints against the Carlsberg practice. The ‘Loi Evin’, as the French alcohol marketing regulation is known, bans any link between alcohol marketing and sports as well as between alcohol marketing and youth:
- No advertising should be targeted at young people;
- No advertising is allowed on TV or in cinemas;
- No sponsorship of cultural or sport events is permitted;
- Advertising in the form of product information is allowed.
But for the UEFA, Europe’s football governing body, the sponsorship deal with the world’s 3rd largest beer producer is highly lucrative. Carlsberg is said to have paid about €40 million to be exclusive beer sponsor of EURO 2016. But the Danish brewer is spending even more for promoting its brand during the tournament: Carlsberg is investing as much as €80 million on marketing for the championship.
That’s an investment, which the company surely expects returns on.
Responding to the findings, Bobby Smyth, consultant child and adolescent psychiatrist and board member of Alcohol Action Ireland, said:
[The alcohol industry] has absolute disregard for the spirit of the law, and demonstrates the need for a firm set of measures to restrict alcohol marketing, which are not only prescriptive but sufficiently robust to avoid ‘foul play’ evident in the findings of this report.
[There’s] a significant volume of evidence that exposure to alcohol marketing increases the likelihood that children will start to consume alcohol, and [consume] more, if they already do so.”
For further reading:
Read the full report here (PDF): “FOUL PLAY. ALCOHOL MARKETING DURING UEFA EURO 2016, by: Purves, Critchlow and Stead