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.
© 2014 Society for the Study of Addiction.