Do uk Televised Alcohol Advertisements Abide by the Regulator’s Rules Governing the Portrayal of Alcohol?

  • D. P. French
  • R. Searle
  • D. Alston


Background. Advertisements for alcoholic drinks televised in the UK must abide by the BCAP Code, which aims to prevent such adverts implying, condoning or encouraging immoderate, irresponsible or anti-social drinking. The present study examines whether the general public perceive alcohol advertisements as complying with this Code. Methods. A quota sample of 373 adults who were representative of the UK adult population viewed one of seven alcohol advertisements shown on television over a two-week period, and completed a questionnaire assessing whether that advertisement complied with each of the BCAP Code guidelines. Findings. Overall, 75% of the participants rated the advertisements as breaching at least one guideline from the BCAP Code. Over 50% of participants saw breaches in guidelines regarding alcohol being presented as contributing to popularity, and implying that alcohol is capable of changing mood, physical condition, behaviour, or as nourishment. Discussion The UK general public perceives alcohol advertisements shown on television as breaching the BCAP guidance. The present analysis indicates the inadequacy of the current regulatory system.
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