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Alcohol Advertising in Formula One: An Irresponsible Message

Today European Alcohol Policy Alliance has issued an open letter to address the growing problem of alcohol advertising in Formula One. Letter was addressed to Jean Todt, the President of Federation Internationale de l’Automobile.

In its letter European Alcohol Policy Alliance has raised the great concerns of the heavy marketing exercise seen in Formula One and is therefore requesting an urgent change. The association between drinking and driving should clearly be seen as a troubling one.

The letter argues that sponsorship of sporting events such as Formula One is a prominent marketing tool used by the alcohol industry to promote their products. Sponsorship of this type operates differently from conventional advertising, as its means of persuasion is indirect and implicit. It allows companies not only to create and reinforce awareness, but also to generate positive associations between the sport and the product. The intended result is that the sponsorship creates a link between the company and a highly valued event or occasion in the minds of consumers; a process known as “brand transfer.” It is this transfer that is particularly troubling.

Allowing alcohol sponsorship in Formula One seems to contradict many official guidelines for the marketing of alcohol. It runs against the EU Directive (2010/13/EU) which states that marketing for the consumption of alcohol should not be linked to driving. Moreover, the current association between alcohol and driving does not seem to fall in the category of “the widespread promotion of responsible drinking messages”, part of the mission supported by the alcohol industry itself.

To read the full letter click on the link below: