[cutting/comment] Alcohol advertising and public health: systems perspectives versus narrow perspectives | Journal of Epidemiology and Public Health

Advertising aims to influence not just consumption, but also to influence awareness, attitudes and social norms; this is because advertising is a system-level intervention with multiple objectives. Given this, assessments of the effects of advertising restrictions which focus only on sales or consumption are insufficient and may be misleading.  … We conclude that an unintended consequence of narrow, linear framings of complex system-level issues is that they can produce misleading answers. Systems problems require systems perspectives.

Source: http://jech.bmj.com/content/71/3/308

Note: As mentioned before it seems highly probable that advertising does boost demand for alcoholic products. The connection between exposure to advertising for a product and sales of that product is quite clear. Much of our consumer economy is based on the ability to create demand for products we did not previously want. This widely-accepted fact should override the difficulties of proving it in the case of alcohol. And, as argued in this paper, it is also worth querying the mistaken and potentially harmful beliefs and associations which alcohol advertising perpetuates, whether knowingly or otherwise. ■