Welsh children aged ten and eleven take in more from alcohol advertising than from promotions for the best-selling brands of ice cream and cake according to research from Alcohol Concern Cmyru.

Researchers spoke to over 400 school pupils across Wales and found three-quarters correctly identified 'Brad and Dan' from the Fosters beer comercials but barely half linked the Cadbury drumming gorilla and Walkers Gary Linekar to the brands they promote.

Mark Leyshon, of Alcohol Concern Cymru, 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 and research shows that children who are exposed to alcohol advertising are more likely to start to use alcohol, have positive expectations about alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol."

ACC called on the government to move towards the French model of restricting alcohol advertising with potential solutions including removing bans on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events like football's Carling Cup, only allowing television adverts to run after the watershed and placing health warnings on any promotions.

Nearly all children surveyed identified Carlsberg and Stella Artois as leading alcohol brands, far more than picked out Ben & Jerry's and Mr Kipling as major ice cream and cake companies.

Henry Ashworth, chief executive of the drinks industry's Portman Group, denies that there is a link between increased awareness of alcohol and increased underage drinking.

"The claim that awareness of alcohol brands is causing more children to drink alcohol directly contradicts the latest statistics which show a continued and significant downward trend in the number of children trying alcohol," he said.

Posted 15/03/2012 by richard.hook@pavpub.com