The European Centre for Monitoring Alcohol Monitoring (EUCAM) has delivered a luke warm response to the Responsible Marketing Pact. The pact was trumpeted to be the first time that common standards would be implemented throughout the EU. The standards would protect young people from undue exposure to alcohol and prohibit marketing being directed at minors. The alcohol industry had claimed that self-regulation is working, and should be expanded.
However AMMIE (Alcohol Marketing Monitoring in Europe) at the EUCAM conference in March, warned against mere "window dressing" and called for an outright ban on advertising. Their research showed that on average each minor in the 5 countries they researched (Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Bulgaria and Denmark) were exposed to 44 alcohol commercials in 2 months. They noted numerous violations of the 30% rule, whereby advertising should only be allowed where under 30% of the population are minors. In practice, they insist, there is nowhere in Europe where there is a population group consisting of more than 30% minors, meaning that alcohol advertising can go unchecked.
EUCAM thinks that the measures will not protect minors nor result in advertising being made unattractive to youngsters. AMMIE has concerns that alcohol advertising, though not specifically targeted at young people, can nevertheless be appealing to them. The use of humour, cartoons and party scenes in adverts draw in the interest of young people. However, they feel that advertising companies circumnavigate the rules, leading to 71% of complaints against alcohol advertising to be rejected.
Alcohol Concern's 2010 conference "Is drinking damaging childhood" noted that the power and influence of the alcohol industry needed to be tackled if any real progress were to be made in this area. Alcohol Concern also based 2010 Alcohol Awareness Week on the impact of alcohol marketing. Last year it published the report New Media, New Problem suggesting children are at risk of being exposed to alcohol marketing and pro-drinking messages via the internet.
In 2009 the British Medical Association published Under the influence: The damaging effect of alcohol marketing on young people. The former AERC also published a report in 2009 which highlighted how alcohol advertising linked alcoholic drinks with fun, humour and being the "social glue" for young people.
In England, the progress of a Private Members' Bill on alcohol marketing has been halted, as it failed to complete its passage through Parliament.