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Thursday, May 8, 2014

‘Perceived alcohol adverts breach regulatory code’

Majority of the United Kingdom (UK) public perceive alcohol adverts to breach the Advertising Standards Authority's Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Code suggesting that the current regulatory system for UK television is inadequate, research from The University of Manchester shows, reports NaijaAgroNet.

Researchers from TUM also informed NaijaAgroNet that they surveyed 373 adults, aged 18-74 years, showing them one of seven adverts that had been broadcast in the previous month on leading commercial television channels.

Among them, about 75 per cent of the participants rated the adverts as breaching at least one rule from the BCAP Code rules in all seven adverts, the study published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism. 

NaijaAgroNet gathered that rules about alcohol being presented as contributing to popularity or confidence, and implying that alcohol is capable of changing mood, physical condition or as nourishment were seen as being breached by over 50 per cent.

The team led by Professor David French, noted that previously, research in the United States (US) and Australia have found non-industry experts perceive television adverts to be in breach of their country’s code.

“We wanted to find out whether this was also the case in the UK. Overall, we found three in four participants perceived the adverts to breach at least one alcohol-specific rule in the BCAP Code,” he declared.

Equally the research discovered that about £100million is spent on television adverts for alcohol each year with advertisers arguing these promote brand loyalty but don't influence the amount of alcohol that people drink.

Previous studies, NaijaAgroNet was told, have found that the greater volume of alcohol advertising that young people are exposed to, the earlier they start drinking and the more frequently and heavily too.

“Over half of participants perceived breaches of the rules which prohibit advertisements from implying that alcohol can contribute to popularity or confidence or that it was capable or changing mood, physical condition or behavior,” part of the executive summary stated.

The Manchester team further told NaijaAgroNet that the sample of people questioned, at the city's main railway station, was representative of the adult population (aged 18-74 years) in terms of age and gender, but might have under-represented people from rural locations, low socio-economic groups and ethnic minorities.

“Despite these limitations, which the team argues future research should address, the results suggested a need to review the current code,” he said, stressing that their results suggested that the UK alcohol and advertising industries design advertisements do not appear to comply with the letter or the spirit of the BCAP code.

"Many adverts allude to themes such as youth culture, immoderation and social and sexual success, although many may not explicitly show them. The results of the present analysis, along with the comparatively small number of breaches judged by the ASA, indicate that co-regulation of UK television alcohol adverts is ineffective and requires further consideration.

"It also suggests that only a minuscule proportion of members of the public who perceive adverts as containing elements that breach the BCAP Code actually report them," he submitted.

Isaac Oyimah/GEE 
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