Favourite alcohol advertisements and binge drinking among adolescents: a cross-cultural cohort study

Addiction. 2014 Dec;109(12):2005-15. doi: 10.1111/add.12667. Epub 2014 Jul 21.


Aims: To investigate the association between having a favourite alcohol advertisement and binge drinking among European adolescents.

Design: Data were obtained from a longitudinal observational study on relationships between smoking and drinking and film tobacco and alcohol exposures.

Setting: State-funded schools.

Participants: Baseline survey of 12 464 German, Italian, Polish and Scottish adolescents (mean age 13.5 years), of whom 10 259 (82%) were followed-up 12 months later.

Measurements: Pupils were asked the brand of their favourite alcohol advertisement at baseline. Multi-level mixed-effects logistic regressions assessed relationships between having a favourite alcohol advertisement ('alcohol marketing receptivity') and (i) binge drinking at baseline; and (ii) initiating binge drinking during follow-up among a subsample of 7438 baseline never binge drinkers.

Findings: Life-time binge drinking prevalence at baseline was 29.9% and 25.9% initiated binge drinking during follow-up. Almost one-third of the baseline sample (32.1%) and 22.6% of the follow-up sample of never-bingers named a branded favourite alcohol advertisement, with high between-country variation in brand named. After controlling for age, gender, family affluence, school performance, TV screen time, personality characteristics and drinking behaviour of peers, parents and siblings, alcohol marketing receptivity was related significantly to both binge drinking at baseline [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.13, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.92, 2.36] and binge drinking initiation in longitudinal analysis (AOR = 1.45, 95% CI = 1.26, 1.66). There was no evidence for effect heterogeneity across countries.

Conclusions: Among European adolescents naming a favourite alcohol advertisement was associated with increased likelihood of initiating binge drinking during 1-year follow-up, suggesting a relationship between alcohol marketing receptivity and adolescent binge drinking.

Keywords: Adolescents; Europe; advertising; alcohol; binge drinking; brands; exposure; longitudinal; marketing; promotion.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising*
  • Alcoholic Beverages*
  • Binge Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Binge Drinking / psychology*
  • Choice Behavior*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Cultural Comparison*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Motion Pictures*
  • Smoking / epidemiology
  • Smoking / psychology
  • Statistics as Topic
  • Underage Drinking / psychology
  • Underage Drinking / statistics & numerical data*