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Research finds high levels of potential exposure to alcohol adverts in F1

Alexander Barker from University of Nottingham revealed results of a study that used 1-min interval coding to quantify alcohol content in all broadcast footage, including advertisement breaks during 2017 F1 races.

The 2016 Formula One (F1) Championship was viewed by a global audience of 390 million people, including 21.8 million in the UK. In June 2016, Heineken announced a global partnership with F1, allowing the brand to receive a ‘significant presence’ at F1 race events and thereby potentially generate significant alcohol AVC. Furthermore, several races in the F1 calendar take place in countries where alcohol advertising is prohibited, and it is unclear whether alcohol advertising appears during coverage of these races in the UK.

Exposure to audio-visual alcohol content in media is associated with subsequent alcohol use among young people. In 2016 Heineken launched its global Formula One (F1) partnership and had a significant brand presence at a number of 2017 F1 race events. This study measured the extent to which Heineken and other alcohol content appears in a sample of the first 6 races broadcast in the UK during the 2017 F1 Championship.

The aim of this study was to explore the amount and type of alcohol AVC in broadcast footage of the F1 Championship. The research team quantified alcohol AVC in a sub-set of races from the 2017 F1 Championship.

Alcohol content occurred in all of the races shown and in 41% of all advertisement breaks in the programming. The most prominent content was alcohol branding, occurring in 39% of race footage intervals. Alcohol branding consisted mostly of billboard advertisements or branding on the side of cars or racing suits with Heineken and Johnnie Walker being most prominent. Alcohol branding was shown in race footage from countries where alcohol promotion is prohibited. All of the race footage was broadcast on Channel 4 on a Sunday, with start times ranging from 12:35 to 18:45.

Audio-visual alcohol content, including branding, was highly prevalent footage of 2017 F1 races broadcast during peak viewing times in the UK. This content is likely to be a significant driver of alcohol consumption among children and adolescents.

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