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Experiences with online marketing of alcohol, gambling and unhealthy food: A survey 

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Young man looking at his computer screen with concern

Summary: 

This report summarises the findings from a survey of 220 people who were either currently trying to reduce or stop at least one of three harmful and unhealthy products (alcohol, gambling, and unhealthy foods) or were trying to remain that way. 

The survey was conducted by FARE and VicHealth to develop a better understanding of the impact of online marketing by companies selling harmful and unhealthy products. 

Survey participants indicated they are concerned about online marketing for harmful and unhealthy products, that online marketing can make it harder for them to reduce their use or consumption of these products, and that they want to see less marketing for such products and feel better measures are needed to reduce the current amount of online marketing for these products. 

Key findings: 

  • Over 90% of participants reported they are concerned about online marketing for the products they are trying to reduce. 

    “I do not want to be tempted by things that I know are harmful for me.”
    – Scott, 45-54 years old, Male 
  • 83% of participants agreed or strongly agreed that marketing makes it more difficult for them to reduce their use of these products. 

    “I struggle with alcohol and have struggled with gambling in the past so when I see [online advertisements], I sometimes get tempted and triggered…The constant bombardment with the marketing is wearing down my resilience.”
    – Maz, 35-44 years old, Female 
  • Between 89% and 96% of participants indicated they would prefer to see less or no online marketing for the product that they are trying to reduce. 

    “The amount of advertising needs to be reduced drastically.”
    – Riley, 55-64 years old, Male 
Recent research papers

FARE continues to fund and undertake research that contributes to the knowledge-base about alcohol harms and strategies to reduce them.

This research is used to inform our approach to evidence-based alcohol policy development, ensuring that the solutions we are advocating for are informed by research. FARE’s research is also often quoted by governments, other not-for-profit organisations and researchers in public discussions about alcohol, demonstrating that FARE is seen as a leading source of information.

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