Review of the Alcohol Sponsorship Guidlines for Scotland

The review evaluated knowledge of, and compliance with, the Alcohol Sponsorhsip Guidelines for Scotland, with a focus on identifying best practice and examining whether there is a need to enhance and improve the Guidelines to ensure they remain fit for purpose.

2 Sponsorship activity in Scotland

2.1 This chapter looks at current sponsorship activity in Scotland, as reported by alcohol industry representatives who completed a pro-forma. It outlines the number of companies undertaking sponsorship activity, the industry segment of sponsoring brands, the types of sponsorship activities undertaken, and the target population of sponsored events and activities.

2.2 As noted in paragraph 1.9, the sample for this phase of the research was provided by SGAIP and thus largely comprised SGAIP member organisations. Additionally, members of the sample were asked to include in the pro-forma only commercial sponsorships that were signed in Scotland after 1st February 2009 (and/or activities that were signed before then but are still active) and have a value of £5,000 or more. All of this meant that the sample was skewed towards larger, national companies, that are likely to be more aware of, and complaint with, the Guidelines than smaller companies.


Three-quarters of the alcohol companies that were sent a pro-forma indicated that they undertake sponsorship activity. A total of 43 sponsorship activities were reported by these companies. Almost half of these activities related to sports events, clubs, or teams and a third related to music events or other cultural activities, including book, comedy and film festivals.

Half of all the sponsorship activity identified was undertaken by the whisky sector with around a third accounted for by the beer and cider sector.

In keeping with the principles of the Guidelines, all sponsored activities and events were targeted at audiences aged 18 and over. One third were targeted at audiences aged 25 and over and one third were not targeted at any specific age group in particular. None of the events or activities were aimed specifically at females, with around a third targeted at males and the remainder at both males and females.

Detailed analysis

2.3 From the 24 pro-formas sent out, we received 21 completed pro-forma returns from alcohol companies, 18 of which reported undertaking sponsorship activity. As illustrated in figure 2.1, a total of 43 sponsorship activities were reported. Almost half of these involved sponsorship of sports events, teams, or clubs, while a third related to music and other arts events, including music, comedy, book and film festivals. The remainder involved sponsorship of 'other' types of event, primarily industry and independent awards ceremonies and dinners.

Figure 2.1: Type of activities/event sponsored

Figure 2.1: Type of activities/event sponsored

2.4 As figure 2.2 shows, half of the reported sponsorship activity was being conducted by the whisky sector (22), while around a third was being undertaken by the beer/cider sector (15). Very few activities were sponsored by other sectors (6).

Figure 2.2: Industry segment of sponsoring brand

Figure 2.2: Industry segment of sponsoring brand

2.5 The whisky and beer/cider sector were involved in sponsoring all of the main categories of activities and events. Sponsors from the spirits sector (excluding whisky) were involved only in sports and music events and activities (figure 2.3).

Figure 2.3: Type of sponsorship activity, by industry segment of sponsoring brand

Figure 2.3: Type of sponsorship activity, by industry segment of sponsoring brand

2.6 The pro-forma included a question about the target age ranges of the sponsored events and activities. The question was open-ended in style to ensure that the data was accurately captured. This resulted in a variety of age groupings being mentioned and thus figure 2.4 is based on the youngest age mentioned. As can be seen, in keeping with the principles of the Guidelines, none of the sponsored events and activities were targeted at people under the legal drinking age. It is worth noting, however, that a third of all sponsorships included 18 year olds within their target age range.

2.7 Figure 2.4: Youngest age targeted by sponsorship activity

2.8 Around two thirds (28) of the events and activities being sponsored by the industry were targeted at both male and female audiences, and another third (15) were targeted specifically at males. No activities were targeted at a female only audience.

2.9 Activity targeted at males and females tended to relate to other cultural events, while activity targeted solely or primarily at males tended to relate to sporting sponsorships.


Email: Iain MacAllister

Back to top