Framing Marketing Responses to National Regulation: The Four Ps in Transnational Corporate Political Discourse; Comment on “Understanding Marketing Responses to a Tax on Sugary Drinks: A Qualitative Interview Study in the United Kingdom, 2019”

Document Type : Commentary


Global Health Policy Unit, School of Social and Political Science, University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, UK


A growing evidence base indicates that sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes are an effective tool to help reduce excess sugar intake. The effects of SSB taxes and the mechanisms which underlie them, however, are dependent on a number of interrelated factors such as policy design and responses of industry and consumers. Forde and colleagues contribute to unpacking these mechanisms by exploring the way in which the UK’s Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) shaped the four Ps of soft drinks marketing: product, price, placement, and promotion. This commentary builds on the authors’ insights by connecting them to existing knowledge on corporate political activity and the commercial determinants of health (CDOH) more broadly. Specifically, I discuss the risk that an industry framing of regulation-induced marketing changes as a voluntary step towards corporate responsibility undermines the need for government intervention to address obesity in other contexts and countries. I conclude by arguing that the public health community would benefit from considering marketing responses to regulation alongside industry narratives about these changes.


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