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Alcohol Marketing and Promotion

Key Issues:

Alcohol and Athletes

Marketing and Spring Break

Bars, liquor stores, restaurants, and other alcohol outlets often aggressively market and promote alcoholic beverages on- and off-campus, targeting both underage and older college students. Low-price drink specials, penny pitchers, and happy hours are examples of marketing practices that encourage the college population to drink heavily. In addition, posters, neon signs, flashing lights, drink coasters, and other forms of advertisement bombard students with pro-alcohol messages, reinforcing the message that alcohol is a ubiquitous and essential feature of the college experience.

Campuses can work to restrictmarketing and promotion of alcohol both on- and off-campus through a variety of policy mechanisms at both the campus and community levels.

On campus, colleges and universities can ban or restrict alcohol advertising and alcohol industry sponsorship of on-campus events. Efforts can also be made to limit the content of party or event announcements on campus and ads in the campus newspaper.

Off campus, campus-and-community coalitions can work to ban or limit alcohol advertising in the vicinity of campuses, and ban alcohol promotions with special appeal to underage drinkers and those that show drinking in high-risk contexts. All of these measures serve to eliminate or reduce the visibility of advertisements that reinforce an environment that supports high-risk or illegal drinking.

Within the community, new initiatives beyond advertising restrictions can serve to promote a healthy environment. Requiring pro-health messages to counterbalance alcohol advertising, and establishing cooperative agreementswith local bar and tavern owners to institute minimum pricing and to limit drink specials reinforce healthy behaviors by reducing the incentive for fast and high consumption.

Examples of specific strategies

On Campus

  • Ban or restrict alcohol advertising on campus
  • Ban or restrict alcohol industry sponsorship of on-campus events
  • Limit content of party or event announcements

Off Campus

  • Ban or limit alcohol advertising in the vicinity of campuses
  • Ban alcohol promotions with special appeal to underage drinkers
  • Ban alcohol promotions that show drinking in high-risk contexts
  • Require pro-health messages to counterbalance alcohol advertising
  • Institute cooperative agreement to institute minimum pricing
  • Institute cooperative agreement to limit special drink promotions


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