The study of some 400 children aged 10 and 11 found that 79% of children recognised Carlsberg as an alcoholic drink compared to 74% who recognised Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and 41% who recognised Mr Kipling’s cakes as food.
Ninety-five per cent recognised the brand logos of Foster’s and Stella Artois as alcoholic drinks, 79% identified Smirnoff and 75% associated a picture of the characters Brad and Dan from a Foster’s TV ad with alcohol.
Just 42% identified the drumming gorilla from the Cadbury’s ad as being associated with food.
Alcohol Concern’s Mark Leyshon said: “The drinks industry asserts very strongly that it doesn’t aim its advertising at children. However, this new study provides more evidence that alcohol marketing messages are getting through to young people well before they are legally able to buy alcohol.”
He claimed research showed that children who are exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion are more likely to start to use alcohol, have positive expectations about alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol.
Leyshon added: “It’s clear that more effective controls are needed to ensure alcohol marketing messages only reach adult audiences, and are not attractive to children. We need to look at the best practice from other countries that are seeking to tackle alcohol harm, and produce a regulatory framework that’s fit for purpose.”