Do Alcohol Advertisements Influence Underage Drinking?

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Alcohol id derived from the Arabic word Alkuhl, which means the essence. Fermentation or distillation produces alcohol. Alcohol has been around prior to Christ being born, being used and produced in many countries many different ways for numerous reasons ranging from recreational use to religious and medical purposes.

Youth and alcoholism doesn’t seem to be a problem in many other countries, but in the United States this tends to become a problem early on with of thirty percent of students tried alcohol. consume five or more drinks at one setting, and 3% drink daily Underage drinking has an annual estimated tab of $53 billion-which includes $19 billion in auto accidents alone. This is considered to well exceed the youthful use of illegal drugs. (Dow Jones & Company, Inc., 2003)

What is the cause of this? Some may say that it is peer pressure, while others maintain that it is their environment. Although this may be true, a large reason that can be debated is that the media has a large influence on the culture of drinking, and whether it is acceptable to those that are underage.


Many companies are catching heat lately for targeting young, underage drinkers. Marin Institute, a youth anti-alcohol group, recently reprimanded Adolph Coors Co. The Marin Institute found that Coors advertised with and in “Scary Movie 3” even though it was rated PG-13. Not only did they do some advertising, but also the actual Coors twins were physically in the movie. The fact that Coors is already promoting “Scary Movie 4” shows that they intend to continue co-promoting a highly recognized youth brand according to a Marin spokeswoman. (MacArthur, p.1)

A Coors spokeswoman stated that Coors expected the movie to get an “R” rating. The beer producer didn’t expect for the movie to capture a PG-13 rating. They did not want to target minors. And after they received heat from the Marin Institute, they discontinued the ads. (MacAuthur, p.1)

John Kaestner of Anheuser-Busch Companies believes “a Teen’s exposure to-or awareness of-beer advertising has nothing to do with what can help that teen make good decisions about respecting the law and himself when it comes to underage drinking,’ he says. (Goehring, issue 3)

Alcopops, a company that has lemony alcoholic drinks, is in the eye of many groups that state they target underage drinkers. The National Association of African Americans for Positive Imagery (NAAAPI) is concerned that this is another group in the alcohol industry that is relentless in promoting liquors to America’s youth, especially African Americans, through television ads. (Big Red, 2002) Hispanic-Americans are also targeted, seeing 32% of more alcohol advertising for alternatives, alcopops and other alcohol refreshers. In the Hispanic community, they are presented with pressure from both sides-Spanish-language and English radio and television stations. (New York Voice, 2003) Maxine Womble, project director for Blacks Against Drunk Driving, a project of the National Black Alcoholism and Addictions Council, is concerned that the alcohol industry will not voluntarily exercise the controls needed to protect children from television advertising of youthoriented liquors like alcopops. (Big Red, 2002)

The alcohol industry also lures minors with sweet-tasting, colorfully packaged drinks. More than 40% of teens have tried beverages like Tequiza and Smirnoff Ice. (World Future Society, 2002)

Meda’a Aim

The National Academy of Sciences (NAS) also offers some suggestions. It calls for the reduction in the amount of alcohol marketing aimed at children. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth argues that high-schoolers are overexposed to alcohol advertising and exposed to it’s youthful themes. (Goehring, issue3)

Jeff Becker, President of the Beer Institute, a national trade association, opposed this recommendation during congressional testimony during the report in fall of 2003. He cited that a Roper youth Report showed that parents, and not advertisements, where the number one influence on their children’s decision whether to drink. (Gohering, issue 3) This puts the responsibility on the people who are even letting the advertisements be viewed, the legal guardian. Not to mention what other experimentation a parent may let their child engage in.

The NAS also suggests that the that the (alcohol) industry voluntarily narrows the youth exposure to its advertising by placing ads only in magazines and television shows with audiences that are only 15% underage. That is far more restrictive than the effort announced last year by the industry that promised a reduction to 30% of underage viewers. In relation to advertising, they also stated that they should avoid marketing practices that have substantial underage appeal and toughen their codes. (Dow Jones, 2003)

In part, the alcohol and entertainment industries are to blame, founded by a report done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse (CASA). Children and teens are bombarded with TV ads glorifying beer during sports programs, and images like Budweiser’s talking lizards have tremendous youth appeal. (World Future Society,2002) In the New Pittsburgh Courier they state that “Joe Camel is history, but we continue to have iguanas and pet frogs market beer to our children. Adolescent rebellion, young faces and youth music icons are regularly used in advertising. Research has shown a link between drinking intentions and exposure to alcohol ads. Let’s break that link.”(New Pittsburgh Courier, 2002) Although sometimes indirectly, Gangster rappers like 50 cent and the G-Unit will fantasize drinking and often have these drinks pictured in their videos. Our young look up to these rap icons, and will do or drink whatever gets them closer to their idol.

Meanwhile, the entertainment industry has glamorized and sexualized alcohol in many children’s movies. An analysis of 81 G-rated animated films revealed that nearly 50% showed characters using alcohol, often without consequence. In addition, 34% of the movies equated alcohol with wealth, 19% with sexual activity. (World Future Society, 2002) Many cartoons will show the drunk individual with X over their eyes, but in all actuality puts an X over the young viewer’s eyes blinding them to the reality of the situation.

Beer Product Behavior Measurement

An alternative behavior measure, developed for use among children not yet making drinking decisions (Austin & Johnson, 1997a, 19976; Austin & Knaus, 2000), was included to further validate the construct. Researchers determined preferences for products exhibiting beer or soda pop logos based on the presentation of six items which students rated on a scale of 1-5 (not wanting it at all to wanting it a lot). Each beer item had a corresponding item representing a soda pop logo. Items included balls, coin banks, motorized ‘dancing’ cans, shirts, piggy banks, towels, hats, playing cards, and drinking glasses-representing a variety of brands. A total of 22 items were randomly assigned to classrooms in one of eight balanced orders to avoid item-specific, brand-specific, or order-specific effects. Each order included three items representing each theme (soda pop or beer). Only the beer items were used to create the prebehavior index (alpha = .61). The soda pop items, on their own, did not comprise a reliable index (alpha = .47)

The average child watches the television for around 30 hours a week and on numerous occasions they witness alcohol being depicted as socially cool and relaxing. Advertisements show that alcohol is not a bad thing and you will get all the girls/guys if you partake in it. This shows the effects of what improper advertising can do, and how it effects children at a young age. I do believe that Alcohol Advertisements influence children to drink more. Via movies, cartoons and advertisements, children are exposed to something that they could otherwise be prevented to take part in, many of which these show no negative effects from alcohol. Perhaps if these individuals were shown as alcoholics and not just “social drinkers”, the advertisements and shows would have a more positive effect.

Exposure to alcohol ads and alcohol use in TV and films ‘Profoundly affects young people and does influence their drinking habits”, said commission chairman Neil Solomon, MD. He said children are exposed to thousands of commercials for alcohol in magazines and on TV, radio, and billboards. The ads often portray those who drink as sexy and appealing. (American Marketing Association, 1993) I agree wholeheartedly, and I believe that this cycle of luring youngsters must stop if we want to put a curve in this epidemic.


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Do Alcohol Advertisements Influence Underage Drinking?. (2021, Apr 29). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/do-alcohol-advertisements-influence-underage-drinking/

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