Other limitations of the study were the sample attrition and the fact that those who drank more at baseline were more likely to drop out of the study. Future research should also control for the effects of parent and peer influences on drinking. Finally, the study does not explain the process by which advertising affects youth. We examined a national cohort of youth longitudinally to assess the effects of alcohol advertising on drinking amounts over time.
“We wanted to see if an underage profile could view alcohol brand content and interact with that content directly from smartphones,” Barry says. “We wanted to see if an underage profile could view alcohol brand content and interact with that content directly from smartphones,” Barry said. Youngsters are being targeted with alcohol-related advertisements on social media platforms, new research demonstrates. The researchers also found that neighborhoods with large numbers of tobacco retailers expose youth to more tobacco advertising and make it easier to buy cigarettes, a finding that held true for alcohol retailer density as well. There is scientific consensus that advertising by the tobacco industry—which has had a long history of marketing directly to youth—causes teen smoking.
Of course, if adults were the actual target audience, and were less likely to have seen the ads in question, then this would suggest that they were aired during the wrong shows. Future studies should also include market-level or self-reported data on youth exposure to specific ads to examine the interaction between brand advertising content, youth exposure, and alcohol brand consumption. It is also likely that other, unmeasured variables such as gender, race/ethnicity, price, availability, and current parental use of alcohol contribute to the variance in youth brand consumption. Further research accounting for such variables would be needed for a full analysis of the association between brand-specific advertisement content and youth brand preferences. Though the rates have shown moderate declines nationally, 1 alcohol is still the most popular substance of abuse among U.S. youth.
By the end of the 30-day study, Barry said that his 10 media accounts had received hundreds of advertisements. Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy. Drinks known as low-alcohol refreshers and “malternatives” are advertised specifically in the youth market. At Prevention Action Alliance, we believe that everyone has a role to play in prevention.
How Many Ads for Alcohol Do Young People See?
Another study of radio advertising found that young people age 12 to 20 heard 8% more beer and ale advertising and 12% more malternative advertising than adults. Another thing colleges and universities can do is to restrict the advertising and availability of alcohol products on or near campus. Reducing advertising at college sports events or working with local lawmakers to restrict the types of advertising that can be done near where college students live can reduce the likelihood of underage and binge drinking. If media literacy builds young people’s resiliency against alcohol ads, environmental prevention stops harm from happening in the first place. Research compiled by CAMY found that young people who saw television programs, in-store displays, or magazines with alcohol ads were more likely to drink alcohol than young people who didn’t.
The same criteria have been used to establish that smoking is a cause of cancer and that tobacco marketing is one cause of youth smoking. The researchers compared the same categories the Surgeon General used to deem a causal relationship between tobacco advertising and youth smoking—including marketing strategies, frequency and density of ads, and teens’ attitudes toward and use of cigarettes—to the case of alcohol. Alcohol brands popular why does alcohol cause easy bruising among underage drinkers are more likely to air television advertisements that violate the industry’s voluntary code by including youth-appealing content, according to a new study by researchers from the School of Public Health. Young people in markets where there is a saturation of alcohol advertising tend to keep increasing their drinking over time to the point that they consume an average of 50 drinks per month by age 25.
- All user profiles could fully access, view, and interact with alcohol industry content posted on Instagram and Twitter.
- These findings, when taken in the context of the Bradford Hill Criteria, indicate that exposure to alcohol advertising causes increased teen alcohol use.
- Future research could examine the impact of different forms of advertising and the consumption of various alcoholic products.
- Future studies should also include market-level or self-reported data on youth exposure to specific ads to examine the interaction between brand advertising content, youth exposure, and alcohol brand consumption.
Parents and teachers can mitigate the influence of alcohol ads by teaching children media literacy. Media literacy is, according to Common Sense Media, “the ability to identify different types of media and understand the messages they’re sending.” By teaching media literacy to young people, they learn to recognize ads and analyze the influence they have on viewers—including themselves. In other words, we can give them the skills they need to protect themselves from ads’ influence and promote critical thinking. It’s important for parents to be educated on the messages teens are receiving about alcohol and the dangers of underage drinking.
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According to a longitudinal study, young people who saw more alcohol advertisements drank more—for each additional ad they saw above the national median, they drank 1% more. Additionally, a study in Addictive Behaviors Reports found that beer companies’ advertising here’s why you wake up early after a night of drinking budgets “strongly predicted the percentage of students who had heard of, preferred, and tried” brands. In 2001, alcohol companies spent around $4 billion to advertise their products through traditional and non-traditional media, many intentionally targeting youth.
The authors of the reviews used the Bradford Hill criteria – a well-known framework for determining causal links between environmental exposures and disease – to determine whether marketing is a cause of youth alcohol use. The criteria involve determining such aspects as the strength of the association, the consistency of the link, the timing of the exposure with the outcome, and biological and psychological plausibility. “Our evidence underscores the need for strong and independent enforcement of the code to prevent continued inclusion of youth-appealing content in alcohol marketing materials,” the authors wrote. The underlying mechanisms we are proposing here are tentative, but the basic finding – the need to make distinctions between the relationships that adolescents have with alcohol and alcohol marketing compared to young adults – is crucial. ICalculated as the youth (ages 13-20) prevalence rate divided by the older adult (ages 35+) prevalence rate.
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However, it is easier than ever for someone underage to gain access to a wide array of alcohol, making underage drinking a less risky and more enjoyable activity. Because we can’t trust the alcohol industry to regulate itself and prevent youth exposure to alcohol ads, we have to take it upon ourselves to protect young people. Parents not only need to talk to their kids about the dangers of underage drinking , but they need to talk to them about alcohol marketing. Parents must help their kids understand that advertising will never tell the whole story about alcohol use and its consequences on young people. The more teens are on social media sites, the more they are getting exposed to online alcohol ads.
However, focusing specifically on Twitter and Instagram, he discovered that underage profiles had unfettered access to alcohol brand promotional pictures, videos and messages. The researchers examined a comprehensive list of 288 brand-specific beer advertisements, representing 23 brands, broadcast during the National Collegiate Athletic Association men’s and women’s basketball tournaments from 1999 to 2008. A panel of health professionals rated the advertisements to assess the presence of youth-appealing content.
Creating healthy alternatives for recreational activities to drinking, creating, communicating, and enforcing social hosting laws, and holding businesses accountable for selling alcohol products to youth are all strategies advocates can pursue to prevent underage drinking. Alcohol companies have vowed to self-regulate to keep their advertisements away from the eyes of children. These codes cover how companies should place their ads on television, Internet sites, social media, radio stations, and more, and they require companies to monitor how their brand is used to ensure it isn’t being aimed at underage audiences.
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The two 21+ profiles collectively received 1836 alcohol-related tweets within 30 days. All Instagram profiles, however, were able to follow all alcohol brand pages and received an average of 362 advertisements within 30 days. The quantity of promotional updates increased throughout the week, reaching their peak on Thursday and Friday.
Alcohol brand use of youth-appealing advertising and consumption by youth and adults
Alcohol is the leading illicit substance used by youth in the United States, with a prevalence rate exceeding those for tobacco and other drugs. Studies have shown that early consumption of alcohol is linked to heavy episodic drinking and alcohol use disorders during adulthood. Moreover, as youth exposed to alcohol advertisements are at increased risk of alcohol consumption, there is a consensus among public health researchers that alcohol advertisement should not target youth. To demonstrate corporate social responsibility, alcohol industry groups developed voluntary codes stating that alcohol advertising should only target adults.
Youth who lived in markets with less alcohol advertising drank less and showed a pattern of increasing their drinking modestly until their early 20s, when their drinking levels started to decline. The results are consistent with findings from studies of advertising bans31,32 and extend them by linking alcohol advertising expenditures per capita directly with individual youth behavior. The effect of market advertising spending on youth drinking was not attributable to differences in alcohol sales, which was the interactive association between sodium intake controlled for statistically in the model. According to Barry, alcohol brands are supposed to have an Age Gate system in place that restricts those under the minimum legal drinking age of 21 years from accessing and viewing their content. Alcohol brands with youth-appealing advertising are consumed more often by youth than adults, indicating that these ads may be more persuasive to relatively younger audiences, and that youth are not simply mirroring adult consumption patterns in their choice of brands.