Alcohol marketing is widespread globally and a structural element of the alcoholic beverage industry.
In this Special Feature about alcohol marketing in sports, we share state-of-art scientific evidence as well as case stories of three world sports where alcohol advertising and sponsorship is pervasive.
Advertising expenditures are high and advertising is widespread. The aggressive investments in alcohol marketing, for example sports sponsorship, generates high profits per dollar invested for Big Alcohol companies, relative to other industries.
While this is highly profitable for the alcohol industry, alcohol marketing is also highly harmful for people and communities, especially for children and youth.
The alcohol industry has always been pursuing sports sponsorship to increase brand awareness, link their brands and products with the heroics and physical performance of sports, and to drive sales of their products.
Other than reaching thousands and even millions of sports fans, this strategy allows alcohol giants to specifically reach a younger audience, and align their products with the attributes of elite sports – disguising that their products are harmful. This is key for the alcohol industry to produce future, brand-loyal consumers and thus, ensure profit maximization.
Big Alcohol companies have been amping up their sports sponsorship in recent years, specifically targeting women’s sports increasingly.
Heineken got caught promoting heavy alcohol use at the Gold Cycle Race in the Netherlands. The Dutch Institute for Alcohol Policy, STAP, raised the complaint after an oversized beer glass was presented to the winner of the Amstel Gold cycle race on the podium last spring.
The race is sponsored by the Heineken brand Amstell. In the final ceremony Heineken “awarded” a massive beer glass to the first place winner. He was seen sharing it with the other winners. Such practices violate the Dutch Advertising Code.
Exposure to alcohol advertising and sponsorship when watching sport has a long-term effect on people’s alcohol use.
In this Special Feature, we share stories of three world sports where alcohol advertising and sponsorship is pervasive.
Evidence from Rugby shows how the alcohol industry is exploiting major competitions and how this pays off in sales and profits.
Different sport, similar story: in American Football – where the Super Bowl is one of the biggest events on the planet every year – the alcohol industry has found another sport to promote their brands and reach young audiences.
And football, the largest sport in the world is the third example where the alcohol industry floods children with alcohol ads.