An Analysis of How Lobbying by the Alcohol Industry Has Eroded the French Évin Law Since 1991
The French Évin Law was passed in 1991 to prohibit alcohol advertising in media from targeting young people and to regulate content in authorized media. This research analyzes how lobbying by the alcohol industry has undermined this law over the last 30 years.
A narrative approach, consisting of the collection and analysis of semistructured interviews with persons who recount their experience and offer interpretation, was used to analyze lobbying by the alcohol industry against the Évin Law from 1991 to 2020. The researchers conducted 18 interviews with key French informants involved in implementing and/or changing the Évin Law (including founders of the law) to identify strategies and arguments used by the alcohol industry. An established framework of corporate political activity specific to the alcohol industry was used to classify the findings.
The industry tactics and arguments were found to be similar to those in other countries; however, some were specific to France, such as highlighting winegrowing as central to French culture and integrating the wine industry into decision-making bodies, alliances with parliamentarians, and circumventions of the law. These specific features may be explained by the age of the Évin Law (30 years) and the economic weight of alcohol and wine at the heart of French culture.
The Évin Law has been continuously weakened since its initial implementation. This research analyzes the long-term lobbying strategies and arguments that have been used to erode it. The results are useful for other countries that have implemented alcohol marketing regulations to help anticipate tactics and arguments deployed by the alcohol industry to weaken marketing regulations.