Alcohol, Advertising, and Youth

In 2003, alcohol beverage producers adopted a standard requiring that at least 70 percent of an alcohol advertisement’s audience should consist of adults ages 21 and older. That was an increase of 40 percent over the previous standard.

The Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) now calls for producers to limit alcohol ads even more to media with audiences of at least 85 percent adults aged 21 or older.

However, research on alcohol ads in magazines and their readership has clearly demonstrated that limiting alcohol ads to magazines with 85 percent audience aged 21 or older would not reduce exposure of young people to such ads. In the words of economist Dr. Jon P. Nelson of Pennsylvania State University, such a requirement

would prohibit alcohol ads in many major magazines with large numbers of adult readers. But because the relationship between alcohol advertising and youth readership is non-existent, the 85 percent criterion would create costs for adults (who are readers) without any obvious benefits in terms of reductions in exposure of youth to images of alcohol consumption. 1

In addition, research around the world for decades by governments, health agencies and universities has demonstrated no causal relationship between viewing alcohol ads and the decision to begin drinking alcoholic beverages. In other words, seeing alcohol ads doesn’t cause young people to begin drinking. 2

Alcoholic beverage producers continue to advertise because, if effective, it can increase a brand’s share of total alcohol sales, which occurs at the expense of competitors, who lose sales and market share. 3

References

  • 1. Nelson, Jon P. Advertising, alcohol, and youth: Is the alcoholic beverage industry targeting minors with magazine ads? Regulation, 2005, 28(2), Advertising & Media section.
  • 2. See, for example, Alcohol Advertising (https://www.alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org/effects-of-alcohol-advertising-on-drinking/
  • 3. This is explained in Alcohol Advertising (https://www.alcoholproblemsandsolutions.org/effects-of-alcohol-advertising-on-drinking/ )

Readings

  • Bloomberg News, FTC Says Alcohol Type Not Aimed at Minors. Los Angeles Times (June 5, 2002).
  • Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Out of Control: Alcohol Advertising Taking Aim at America’s Youth. Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2002. [This and the other CAMY reports have been criticized for their lack of scientific peer review and for their serious logical and methodological inadequacies.] *
  • Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Television: Alcohol‘s Vast Adland. Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2002. [This and the other CAMY reports have been criticized for their lack of scientific peer review and for their serious logical and methodological inadequacies.] *
  • Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Overexposed: Youth as a Target of Alcohol Advertising in Magazines. Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2002. [This and the other CAMY reports have been criticized for their lack of scientific peer review and for their serious logical and methodological inadequacies.] *
  • Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Radio Daze: Alcohol Ads Tune in Underage Youth. Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2003. [This and the other CAMY reports have been criticized for their lack of scientific peer review and for their serious logical and methodological inadequacies.] *
  • Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Exposure of African-American Youth to Alcohol Advertising. Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2003. [This and the other CAMY reports have been criticized for their lack of scientific peer review and for their serious logical and methodological inadequacies.] *
  • Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising. Washington, DC: Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, 2003. [This and the other CAMY reports have been criticized for their lack of scientific peer review and for their serious logical and methodological inadequacies.] *
  • Hacker, George, R. Collins and Michael Jacobson. Marketing Booze to Blacks. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1987 *
  • Chafetz, Morris E. Television Liquor Ads will not Promote Underage Drinking. In: Scott, Barbour (ed.) Alcohol, Opposing Viewpoints. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1998. pp. 75-77.
  • Connolly, G. M., Casswell, S., Zhang, J-F., and Silva, P. A. Alcohol in the mass media and drinking by adolescents: A longitudinal study. Addiction, 1994, 89, 1255-1263.
  • Federal Trade Commission. Alcohol Marketing and Advertising: A Report to Congress. Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission, 2003.
  • Fisher, Joseph C. Advertising, Alcohol Consumption, and Abuse: A Worldwide Survey. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1993, p. 150.
  • Frankena, M., Cohen, M., Daniel, T., Ehrlich, L., Greenspun, N., and Kelman, D. Alcohol Advertising, Consumption and Abuse. In: Federal Trade Commission. Recommendations of the Staff of the Federal Trade Commission: Omnibus Petition for Regulation of Unfair and Deceptive Alcoholic Beverage Marketing Practices, Docket No. 209-46. Washington, DC: Federal Trade Commission, 1985.
  • Goetz, D. Liquor industry gets stricter on advertising. Courier-Journal (Louisville, KY), 9-10-03.
  • Jacobson, Michael, Robert Atkins and George Hacker. The Booze Merchants: the Inebriating of America. Washington, DC: Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1983. [In this book CSPI began using the theme that alcohol marketing “targets kids.”] *
  • Maxwell, B., and Michael Jacobson. Marketing Disease to Hispanics: Alcohol.... Washington, DC: Center for Science in he Public Interest, 1989.
  • Jernigan, David. Selling booze to our babies. Albuquerque Tribune Online, 8-28-03. [Mr. Jernigan has been employed by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY).] *
  • Melillo, W. FTC: Ads for "Alcopops" Not Aimed at Teens, Adweek (June 6, 2002)
  • Nelson, Jon P. Advertising, alcohol, and youth: Is the alcoholic beverage industry targeting minors with magazine ads? Regulation, 2005, 28(2), Advertising and Media section.
  • Nelson, Jon P. Beer advertising and marketing update: Structure, conduct, and social costs. Review of Industrial Organization, 2005, 26(3).
  • Nelson, Jon P. Broadcast Advertising and U. S. Demand for Alcoholic Beverages. University Park, PA: Pennsylvania State University, 1977.
  • Nelson, Jon P. and Moran, J. R. Advertising and U. S. alcoholic beverage demand: a growth-accounting analysis. Empirical Economics, 1995, 22, 1-20.
  • Nelson, Jon P and Young, D.J. Meta-Analysis of Alcohol Advertising Bans: Cumulative Econometric Estimates of Regulatory Effects. Pennsylvania State University and Montana State University, January, 2003.
  • Ogbourne, A. C., and Smart, R. G. Will restrictions on alcohol advertising reduce alcohol consumption? The British Journal of Addiction, 1980, 75, 296-298.
  • Sanders, James. Alcohol Advertisements Do Not Encourage Alcohol Abuse Among Teens. In: Wekesser, Carol (ed.) Alcoholism. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1994. Pp. 132-135, p. 133.
  • Shoup, Harold, and Dobday, Christine. Alcohol Advertising Restrictions without Due Cause. In: Engs, Ruth C. (ed.) Controversies in the Addictions Field. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1990. Pp. 130-135.
  • Smart, Reginald G. Does alcohol advertising affect overall consumption? A review of empirical studies. Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 1988, 49, 314-323.
  • Smart, Reginald G. The Impact of Prevention Measures: An Examination of Research Findings. In: Institute of Medicine. Legislative Approaches to Prevention of Alcohol-Related Problems: An Inter-American Workshop - Proceedings. Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1982. Pp. 224-246.
  • Smart, R. G., and Cutler, R. E. The alcohol advertising ban in British Columbia: Problems and effects on beverage consumption. The British Journal of Addiction. 1976, 7, 13-21.
  • Snyder, Susan. Ruling could put alcohol ads back in college newspapers. A federal court overturned a Pa. law that banned paid alcohol ads. Schools and their student papers are assessing the impact. Philadelphia Inquirer, August 4, 2004.
  • Taylor, Patricia. Alcohol Advertisements Encourage Alcohol Abuse. In: Wekesser, Carol (ed.) Alcoholism. San Diego, CA: Greenhaven Press, 1994. Pp. 111-121, p. 112. (Chapter is from Taylor's testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Transportation and Hazardous Materials, March 1, 1990.) [Ms. Taylor is former Director of the Alcohol Policies Project of the Center for Science in the Public Interest.] *
  • Whitehead, P. Is Advertising Effective? Implications for Public Health Policy. In: Rush, Brian, and Ogborne, Allan C. (Eds.) Evaluation Research in the Canadian Addictions Field. Ottawa, Ontario: Health and Welfare Canada, 1983. Pp. 32-33.
  • * The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) and the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) are both heavily funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. To learn more about this powerful temperance-oriented foundation, visit http://www.alcoholfacts.org/RWJfoundation.html

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