Over the past decade or so, numerous studies have been held that test the influence of alcohol advertising on teens. The results of these studies have consistently displayed that this advertising heavily influences teen drinking. Here’s a closer look at why that’s the case.
Exposure to alcohol marketing has tangible effects on teenagers. For instance, among 7th graders that viewed these ads, nearly half of them began consuming alcohol in some form by 9th grade. For 7th graders that had just started consuming these beverages, over 75 percent of those that viewed alcohol ads continued drinking by 9th grade.
If viewing of these ads continued into their 8th grade year, the chances of starting to drink by 9th grade only increased. It’s clear that the effectiveness of these ads oftentimes combines with peer pressure from school to cause youth to start consuming alcoholic beverages at a young age. It’s also important to note that a CAMY study displayed that the amount of these ads on TV when compared to responsibility ads is around 226-1.
Certain youth groups have been targeted by this advertising more than others. African-American and Hispanic youth communities are exposed to a hefty amount of radio advertising, around 30 percent more than adults of the same communities. A little over 70 percent of these radio ads are placed on stations that are listened primarily by youth within the 12-20 age range. These stations fall under urban contemporary, rhythmic contemporary and pop contemporary music.
What Occurs When Advertising is Reduced
While the adverse effects of this marketing on youth are quite clear, it’s made even more obvious when looking at what happens when the amount of this advertising is reduced. When reducing the amount of this advertising by just over 25 percent, the amount of teenagers that consume alcoholic beverages drops by around 1-4 percent from 25 percent.
When looking at binge consumption, this reduction of advertising results in a drop from 12 percent to around 8-11 percent among adolescents. The study also estimated what would happen if all advertising of this kind were to cease. The conclusion determined that this would be the best solution for a lasting reduction in youth drinking, leading to a total of 7,600 less deaths due to the consumption of alcoholic beverages.
What Adolescents Think About This Advertising
Some studies that focus on how this advertising affects teenagers actually ask youth about their thoughts on advertising of this nature. A USA Today survey given out to a substantial number of teenagers found that a majority believe that this advertising increases the likelihood that they drink alcoholic beverages, as opposed to the intended message of consuming one brand over another.
Two additional polls also asked the general public about whether or not they believed that alcohol marketing causes an increase in the amount of youth that drink alcoholic beverages. One poll found that 73 percent of respondents believed that marketing does cause teenagers to consume more alcoholic beverages, while the other study found that 80 percent of general public polled believe this to be the case.
The Amount of Marketing That Reaches Youth
To understand more about how teenagers are so captivated by this marketing to the point where it causes them to drink, it’s important to look at the amount of marketing that reaches this specific age group. In 2005 alone, advertisers for alcoholic beverages spent a total of $2 billion in advertisements across standard major media. When branching out to total promotion expenditures that include such outlets as product placement and internet advertising, the number rises to a whopping $6 billion.
Youth exposure to this advertising rose by 41 percent from 2001 to 2005. This merely takes TV adverts into account. Ads specifically for distilled spirits increased from under 2,000 in 2001 to nearly 47,000 in 2005. While magazine adverts decreased by 31 percent, around 22 of the brands advertising in these magazines exposed their ads to teenagers more effectively than adults. This is just a small sample of the results that displayed definitely that this type of advertising leads to youth consumption of alcoholic beverages.