It remains the case that, generally speaking, the purpose of advertising isn't to get new customers. Oh, I know, you don't believe this any more than the "scientists" who work in public health. But it is true. Brand advertising is about heuristics, about the choice architecture and the limited selection which consumers (existing customers) use to decide a purchase.
The problem is that advertising is an easy target for the Church of Public Health:
Researchers have called for much tighter government restrictions or even a ban on the marketing of alcohol during televised football matches, arguing that the messages are seen by and affect millions of children. Their research suggests football fans see around two references to alcoholic brands every minute when they watch a match on TV – in addition to the formal advertising during commercial breaks.
In 2011, 12% of pupils had drunk alcohol in the last week. This continues a decline from 26% in 2001, and is at a similar level to 2010, when 13% of pupils reported drinking in the last week.
The reported frequency of drinking continues to decline. In 2011, 7% of pupils said they usually drank at least once a week, compared with 20% in 2001.
"Children who don't drink, who are exposed to alcohol marketing, are more likely to start drinking earlier in their lives," she said. "And children who are already drinking are more likely to drink more after exposure to alcohol marketing."
Taken as a whole then findings reported in the available studies indicate that alcohol advertising may have small but significant effects on the beliefs, intentions and possibly behaviours of young people.