Watchdog says teens seeing more cable alcohol ads


The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youths studied ad placement on cable programming from 2001 through 2006 and found that that ads for beer and other potent potables was reaching a greater number of teenagers.

The unofficial alcohol industry standard for placing ads is that the teenage portion of a show’s audience be less than 30%. However, CAMY found that many programs in that group still attract a large number of teens, resulting in teen viewing of “7% more beer, 15% more spirits and 22% more alcopop or low-alcohol refresher ads.”

CAMY noted that in contrast to the performance of these three categories, wine advertisers were actually able to decrease the number of teen impressions by 8%, suggesting that it is possible to more carefully select cable programming with an eye on avoiding teenaged viewers.

It is believed likely that alcohol advertising increases the amount of underage drinking.

“This study did not examine whether alcohol advertisers are intentionally overexposing adolescents,” said Paul Chung, MD, MS, lead author of the study and an assistant professor of pediatrics at Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA, senior natural scientist at RAND and director of the UCLA/RAND Center for Adolescent Health Promotion. “However, the ultimate effect of their advertising strategies, intentional or not, appears to be greater exposure than might be expected if adults were the sole targets of ads. So it’s a lot harder for parents, teachers and clinicians to successfully encourage kids to delay drinking when so many things they’re seeing—on television, on billboards, on movie screens, on the Internet—are telling them otherwise.”

CAMY said it used data from Nielsen on some 600K ads that complied with the 30% standard in arriving at its conclusions.

RBR/TVBR observation: This study seems a little stale, doesn’t it? Going all the way back to 2001? And CAMY admits there is no proven link between advertising and underage drinking.

We’d guess, however, that there is a very strong correlation between the drinking behavior of parents and guardians and the teenagers in their charge.

If you can’t prove harm, and you admit that the target of your attack is playing by the rules and doing so voluntarily, and there are readily available alternate explanations for the phenomenon you are trying to prevent, then focus on the readily available alternate explanations for awhile, if you don’t mind.

But that won’t happen – CAMY has the word “marketing” in its name, not “parents,” so it will trot these studies out no matter what the media does as long as it exists.