A new report released by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health found youths are seeing fewer alcohol ads.
In 2003, alcohol companies undertook a voluntary effort and agreed not to place ads in magazines with youth readership comprising more than 30 percent of the total audience, a decrease from the prior level of 50 percent. The study, which reviewed 29,026 alcohol-product ads in national magazines placed at a cost of $2.7 billion, analyzed whether the alcohol companies met their 30 percent standard and what effect it had on youth exposure. Defining “youth” as persons ages 12 to 20, the study found that total youth exposure to alcohol advertising declined 48 percent between 2001 and 2008. Alcohol ads placed in publications with audiences under 21 comprising more than 30 percent of the total readership “fell to almost nothing” by 2008.
The study noted that continued exposure of youths to alcohol ads will depend on a small handful of companies: only 16 brands accounted for more than 50 percent of youth exposure. “The industry has made progress in reducing total youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines, but continued success will rely on changes in the advertising practices of specific alcohol brands,” according to the report. Alcohol companies have also shifted the type of alcohol advertised in magazines, the study found. Between 2001 and 2008, liquor ads decreased by 34 percent (trending toward television ads), while beer ads increased 158 percent.
To read the report, click here.
Why it matters: Although the study affirms that alcohol companies have followed through with their pledge, the study notes that calls have been made to the industry to lower the exposure standard to 15 percent maximum of the youth audience. “While total youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines has declined… [s]tricter standards are needed to protect youths from the risks posed to them by exposure to advertising for alcoholic beverages,” the report concluded.