The influence of alcohol advertising on young people continues to be the subject of much debate. This paper presents a review of the literature showing that, while many econometric studies suggest little effect, more focused consumer studies, especially recent ones with sophisticated designs, do show clear links between advertising and behaviour. Furthermore, these effects have to be viewed in combination with the possible impact of other marketing activities such as price promotions, distribution, point of sale activity and new product development. Here, the evidence base is less well developed, but there are indications of effects. It must be acknowledged that categorical statements of cause and effect are always difficult in the social sciences; marketing is a complex phenomenon involving the active participation of consumers as well as marketers and more research is needed on its cumulative impact. Nonetheless, the literature presents an increasingly compelling picture that alcohol marketing is having an effect on young people's drinking.
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