In this day and age, teens are exposed to alcohol advertisements across many platforms. Companies are using social media, television, radio and the like to influence people’s decisions. The constant exposure to these advertisements have a particularly strong influence on impressionable young teens. Studies have shown that exposure to alcohol marketing to youth increases the likelihood that they will start to drink or increase drinking habits. This paper will discuss the negative effect alcohol advertisements have on teens and the tactics the alcohol industry uses to attract them.
Alcohol ads tend to promote the more attractive side of drinking. These ads show drinking as being cool, sexy, and fun. The advertisements communicate to the public that consuming this product will enhance user experience and make your event or special occasion better. By using this product, they will look sexy and be just as cool as the people in the commercials. Everyone is shown having a good time and they look great doing it. This sends the wrong impression to teens.
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), alcohol is the most commonly used and abused drug among youth in the United States. The Center of Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), a watchdog of the alcohol industry and its advertising practices, has found that the American Youth are exposed to the booze advertising at alarming rates. One study found that for every $1 dollar spent, young people drink 3 percent more each month. The alcohol industry in the United States alone is a multi-billion-dollar industry. The below graph from Statista.com illustrates the value of the alcohol beverage industry from 2013-2018. According to Statista.com, the U.S. market for alcoholic drinks reached an upward of $231 billion dollars in 2017; expected to increase to $239 billion
Advertising vehicles to attract youth
According to CAMY, a large proportion of alcohol ads appear in youth oriented magazines. The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol abuse conducted a study led by Dr. Michael Siegal of Boston University. He collected data to measure the exposure of alcohol advertisements by brand to underage kids and the correlation with their actual consumption habits. The survey found that underage youth were 5 times more likely to consume brands that advertise on TV and 36 percent more likely to consume brands advertised in magazines.
Social media is a huge vehicle that the alcohol industry uses to promote their brand. The average person spends a couple hours each day on social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat and Twitter. Evidence suggests that the increased exposure to these advertisements contribute to increased drinking among consumers.
“Seventy five percent of teens aged 12 to 17 claim that seeing pictures on social media depicting their friends and schoolmates drinking and using drugs motivated them to mimic the behaviors.” –Jason Dorr, Director, More2Life, a
Underage drinking is a major health concern. Evidence shows that increased exposure to alcohol advertisements increases the change that underage youth will consume alcohol. Not only that but the advertisements also have an effect on which brand of alcohol the underage drinker consumes.