August 14th, 2012
How alcohol ads target kids
By Jeanette Mulvey
Parents might do their best to shield their kids from advertising related to alcohol, but alcohol marketers are doing their best to reach them anyway. That’s the finding of new research that discovered that the content of alcohol ads placed in magazines is more likely to violate industry guidelines if the ad appears in a magazine with sizable youth readership.
The research, which was done by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, found that ads in magazines with a substantial youth readership (15 percent or more) frequently showed alcohol being consumed in an irresponsible manner. Examples include showing alcohol consumption near or on bodies of water, encouraging overconsumption, and providing messages supportive of alcohol addiction. In addition, nearly one in five ad occurrences contained sexual connotations or sexual objectification.
“The bottom line here is that youth are getting hit repeatedly by ads for spirits and beer in magazines geared towards their age demographic,” said CAMY director and study co-author David Jernigan. “As at least 14 studies have found that the more young people are exposed to alcohol advertising and marketing, the more likely they are to drink, or if already drinking, to drink more, this report should serve as a wake-up call to parents and everyone else concerned about the health of young people.”