Anti-drinking campaigns that play on "entertaining drinking stories" may be misinterpreted by young people, researchers claim.
Experts at the University of Bath say adverts that show people being thrown out of a nightclub or being carried home after passing out may be viewed as "fun" rather than "cautionary tales".
Professor Christine Griffin from the University of Bath said: "Extreme inebriation is often seen as a source of personal esteem and social affirmation amongst young people.
"Our detailed research interviews revealed that tales of alcohol-related mishaps and escapades were key markers of young people's social identify.
"Not only does being in a friendship group legitimise being very drunk – being the subject of an extreme drinking story can raise esteem within the group."
Professor Chirs Hackley at the School of Management at the Royal Holloway says that anti-drinking advertising campaigns that target this kind of behaviour may be "catastrophically misconceived".
He adds: "The study suggests a radical rethinking of national alcohol policy which takes into account the social character of alcohol consumption and the identity implications for young people."
Isabelle Szmigin from Birmingham Business School added: "While many young people recognise the damage that 'drinking too much' can do to their health, and the associated risks of physical and sexual assault, few view these as more than short term problems."