What is Alcohol Advertising?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 19 March 2020
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Alcohol advertising is the process of using various types of media to promote a particular alcoholic beverage, usually in an effort to make the drink seem more attractive than other drinks. This type of advertising is often aimed more toward promoting a particular brand over other similar brands, rather than spreading awareness of a general product. Such advertising can be quite beneficial in growing a brand and gaining and maintaining customer loyalty. Alcohol advertising is the source of some controversy, however, and many countries have enacted regulations to prevent such advertising from targeting young people who cannot legally drink alcohol.

The main purpose of alcohol advertising is not necessarily the same as other forms of advertising, since alcohol in general is an established product. While a new product needs to use advertising to spread awareness of the product itself, as well as a particular brand of the product, it is unlikely that many adults who can drink legally are unaware of alcohol as a general product. Most adults are similarly aware of specific types of alcohol, such as beer, wine, whisky, and tequila, and so alcohol advertising does not have to be used to make sure customers are aware of such products.


Alcohol advertising is, instead, typically used to spread awareness of a particular brand of such products and to establish customer loyalty. This sort of advertising usually focuses on a particular brand name rather than the product itself. Such advertising is often seen during sports events and similar television programs, though it can also be heard on the radio and found on the Internet as well. Alcohol advertising for a particular brand of beer, for example, is usually aimed at ensuring people are aware of the brand, associate a positive experience with it, and become loyal to that brand as emblematic of a particular lifestyle or identity.

While there is some controversy around the use of alcohol advertising, a great deal of effort has been expended to ensure such advertising does not target people too young to legally drink. In the US, for example, television advertisements for alcohol can only be played during programs in which a wide majority of viewers are of legal drinking age. Other countries have banned alcohol advertising from television and radio, much like cigarette advertisements have been banned in the US. Many producers of alcoholic beverages have also invested money in advertisements that promote responsible drinking; though these advertisements also serve to promote the product itself as an enjoyable product.



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