Gerard Hastings and colleagues at the University of Sterling (UK) have presented a review of the research on the effects of marketing practices of alcohol producers on the drinking behaviors of youth. The full citation is included along with the abstract. Sorry, but I could not find any links to the full article. Note their consideration of all four elements of the marketing mix in their analysis, and their finding of the relative lack of attention to most of these elements in the research to date. A reminder that there is a difference between marketing and communications approaches to public health and social issues.
Alcohol marketing and young people's drinking: a review of the research.
Hastings, G., Anderson, S, Cooke, E, & Gordon, R.
Journal of Public Health Policy, 2005; 26(3): 296-311
The influence of alcohol advertising on young people continues to be the subject of much debate. This paper presents a review of the literature showing that, while many econometric studies suggest little effect, more focused consumer studies, especially recent ones with sophisticated designs, do show clear links between advertising and behaviour. Furthermore, these effects have to be viewed in combination with the possible impact of other marketing activities such as price promotions, distribution, point of sale activity and new product development. Here, the evidence base is less well developed, but there are indications of effects. It must be acknowledged that categorical statements of cause and effect are always difficult in the social sciences; marketing is a complex phenomenon involving the active participation of consumers as well as marketers and more research is needed on its cumulative impact. Nonetheless, the literature presents an increasingly compelling picture that alcohol marketing is having an effect on young people's drinking.