Alcohol advertising: What does the evidence show?

Think tank: Institute of Economic Affairs

Author(s): Christopher Snowdon

July 27, 2023

This report from UK think tank the Institute of Economic Affairs looks at the empirical evidence of alcohol advertising.

The economics literature shows that advertising can increase the sale of individual brands but, in mature markets, does not increase aggregate sales of the type of product being advertised. Public health campaigners claim that a ban on alcohol advertising would reduce alcohol-related harm by reducing per capita alcohol sales. This paper examines the empirical evidence. The study of alcohol advertising poses a number of methodological challenges, but there is no robust evidence in favour of alcohol advertising bans. Banning alcohol advertising should not be presented as an evidence-based policy.