As the costs of alcohol-related harm continue to rise, alcohol marketing and advertising is also at an all time high. This shows a new study from researchers at Boston University and Johns Hopkins University.
Their study reveals a direct link between underage alcohol consumption and brand-specific advertisements, both on TV and in magazines. Underage users were found to be five times more likely to consume alcohol brands that are advertised.
The best buys of effective alcohol policy – increased price/ taxes, decreased outlet density, and restrictions on alcohol advertising – are indicated in these findings. Effective alcohol policy is needed to reduce harm and costs, and to save lives, in the U.S. and around the globe.
The study background:
Marketing is increasingly recognized as a potentially important contributor to youth alcohol use, yet few studies have examined the relationship between advertising exposure and alcohol consumption among underage youth at the brand level.
The study objectives:
To examine the relationship between brand-specific exposure to alcohol advertising among underage youth and the consumption prevalence of each brand in a national sample of underage alcohol users.
The study methods:
The researchers analyzed the relationship between population-level exposure of underage youth ages 12–20 to brand-specific alcohol advertising in national magazines and television programs and the 30-day consumption prevalence – by brand – among a national sample of underage alcohol users ages 13–20.
Underage youth exposure to alcohol advertising by brand for each month in 2011, measured in gross rating points (GRPs, a standard measure of advertising exposure), was obtained from GfK MRI (a media consumer research company) and Nielsen for all measured national issues of magazines and all national television programs, respectively. The 30-day consumption prevalence for each brand was obtained from a national survey of 1031 underage alcohol users conducted between December 2011 and May 2012.
The study results:
Underage youth were more than five times more likely to consume brands that advertise on national television and 36% more likely to consume brands that advertise in national magazines.
The consumption prevalence of a brand increased by 36% for each 1.5 standard deviation (50 GRPs) increase in television adstock among underage youth and by 23% for each 1.5 standard deviation (10 GRPs) increase in magazine adstock.
These findings suggest that alcohol advertising influences an important aspect of alcohol consumption behavior – brand choice – among youth who use alcohol.
Michael Siegel MD, MPH, Craig S. Ross PhD, MBA, Alison B. Albers PhD, William DeJong PhD, Charles King III JD, PhD, Timothy S. Naimi MD, MPH & David H. Jernigan PhD (2015): The relationship between exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising and brand-specific consumption among underage drinkers – United States, 2011–2012, The American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse, DOI: 10.3109/00952990.2015.1085542