07 August 2020
The results of the study, published today in the BMJ Open, showed that during all 21 races in the 2018 F1 Championship, which aired on Channel 4, alcohol adverts were shown, leaving millions of children and young people exposed to alcohol imagery.
Previous research has shown that exposure to this type of imagery is associated with subsequent alcohol use among young people, and UK broadcasting regulations protect young people from advertising and alcohol content on UK television.
However, alcohol promotion during sporting events is currently unregulated.
With this in mind, a team of experts from the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies in the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health at the University of Nottingham, undertook an analysis of the UK population’s exposure to alcohol content, including branding, during the television broadcast of the 2018 F1 Championship.
The team carried out an in-depth content analysis of the broadcast footage of the 21 (2018) F1 Championship races on Channel 4, using one-minute interval coding of any alcohol content shown, wither actual or implied use, other related content or branding.
The team then used viewing figures and population estimates to estimate overall and individual alcohol impressions – separate incidents seen – by age group.
The results showed that alcohol content occurred in all races, in 1,613 (56%) one-minute intervals of race footage and 44 (9%) of intervals across 28% of advertisement breaks.
The most prominent content was branding, occurring in 51% of race intervals and 7% of advertisement break intervals, appearing predominantly on billboard advertisements around the track, with the Heineken and Johnnie Walker brands being particularly prominent.
The 21 races delivered an estimated 3.9 billion alcohol gross impressions to the UK population, including 154 million (95% CI 124 - 184) to children under the age of 16; and 3.6 billion alcohol gross impressions of alcohol branding, including 141 million impressions to children. Branding was also shown in race footage from countries where alcohol promotion is prohibited.