Control and regulation of advertising, marketing and sponsorship

Section title

Control and regulation of advertising, marketing and sponsorship

Brief definition of policy approach

Statutory or voluntary measures to control or regulate advertising, marketing and sponsorship activities in relation to addictive goods and services.

Description of policy approaches

Statutory or voluntary measures to control or regulate advertising, marketing and sponsorship activities in relation to addictive goods and services. This includes restrictions on exposure (e.g., restrictions on where advertisements can be placed) as well as restrictions on content (e.g., what words may be used in advertisements), and branding (e.g. cigarette packaging). Specifically in relation to young people, this may mean restricting advertisements in media with a predominately young target audience or prohibiting the portrayal of young (looking) people in advertisements. Standardised packaging (e.g., of cigarette packs) is also included under this approach.

Typical measures included under this approach

  1. Restrictions on exposure to advertising
    • Alcohol – restrictions on advertising in broadcast and non-broadcast media; restrictions on point of sale advertising
    • Tobacco – restrictions on advertising in broadcast and non-broadcast media; restrictions on point of sale advertising; restrictions on advertising on vending machines
    • Illegal drugs – restrictions on marketing of prescription drugs with abuse potential
    • Gambling – restrictions on advertising in broadcast and non-broadcast media; restrictions on online commercial communications such as ‘pop-up’ links to gambling sites
  2. Regulation of content of advertising messages
    • Alcohol – Restrictions on content appealing to young people; restriction of advertising to factual characteristics of the product; health warnings integrated into marketing and sponsorship
    • Tobacco – Restrictions on content appealing to young people; restrictions on all forms of advertising; restrictions on descriptions such as “low-tar”, “light”, “ultra-light”, “mild” that suggest a product is less harmful than others; health warnings integrated into marketing and sponsorship
    • Illegal drugs – No approaches identified
    • Gambling – Restrictions on content appealing to young people; provision of key information on all forms of advertising: details of the regulating authority, information on age-limits, win probabilities; warnings integrated into marketing and sponsorship
  3. Restrictions on marketing
    • Alcohol – restrictions on direct marketing; restrictions on portrayal of alcohol in entertainment media and product placement; restrictions on non-financial promotions
    • Tobacco – restrictions on direct marketing; restrictions on tobacco branding on non-tobacco merchandising; restrictions on distributing free tobacco products; restrictions on the production and sales of sweets, snacks, toys or any other objects intended for children in the form of tobacco products; restrictions on packaging design (standardised and plain packaging)
    • Illegal drugs – No approaches identified
    • Gambling – restrictions on direct marketing; restrictions on direct or indirect engagement of operators in unsolicited mail, including to persons who have self-excluded themselves from a site; restrictions on merchandising; restrictions on sales promotions and sign-up bonuses or free practice games

Summary of available evidence for interventions and policies

  1. Beneficial
    • No evidence identified
  2. Likely to be beneficial
    • No evidence identified
  3. Mixed evidence
    • No evidence identified
  4. Unknown effectiveness
    • Effects of advertising and marketing restrictions on young people’s tobacco use
  5. Ineffective
    • No evidence identified

Key Reviews