The Society Lecture 2010: Alcohol marketing policy – an urgent challenge for global governance


Professor Sally Casswell

Director - SHORE (Social and Health Outcomes Research and Evaluation)

Sally Casswell is Professor of Social and Health Research and the Director of the Centre for Social and Health Outcome Research and Evaluation (SHORE), in the School of Public Health at Massey University, New Zealand.  Her research interests are in social and public health policy, particularly in relation to alcohol and other drugs.  She has carried out research on the development and implementation of public policy at the national and community level and in the evaluation of these initiatives. A focus for some years has been on commercial marketing of alcohol products. She is involved in international alcohol policy as a member of the WHO Expert Advisory Panel on Drug Dependence and Alcohol Problems and in the provision of technical advice. SHORE is a WHO Collaborating Centre. Professor Casswell also has an active involvement with the NGO sector including GAPA (Global Alcohol Policy Alliance) of which she is chair of the Scientific Advisory Board and APAPA (Asia Pacific Alcohol Policy Alliance). Professor Casswell is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand and an Officer of the Order of New Zealand.

Current Status of Alcohol Marketing Policy – an urgent challenge for global governance

Alcohol marketing is an integral part of contemporary alcohol supply.  During the past 50 years there has been a dramatic expansion in the sophistication of marketing communications and in the technological options and financial resources available. This provides a new challenge for alcohol policy, one which the research and policy worlds have yet to engage in strongly enough.  Research evidence of the impact of alcohol marketing on the drinking of young people is now well established, as is the corollary to this, the ineffectiveness of ‘self regulation’ approaches. There are few examples in existence of regulatory frameworks which substantially restrict marketing but it is positive that these have largely withstood challenges brought under free trade agreements. Other aspects of the global governance environment, however, especially the active protection of marketing benefits by global alcohol producers and their front organisations, illustrate the particular difficulties of developing and implementing adequate public policy in this area.  Increased independence of governments and intergovernmental organisations from the TNC sector in relation to alcohol marketing policy will be needed in order to build towards an effective global response. Lessons learned from the tobacco control field suggest the importance of an active and expanded NGO sector engaging in evidence informed policy debate.


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