Patterns of Alcohol and Alcohol-Flavoured Non-alcoholic Beverage Advertisements Over Japanese Free-To-Air Television Networks
Alcohol use is a serious public health challenge worldwide. Japan has no government regulations or legal penalties against advertising alcoholic beverages on television (TV). Instead, advertisements depend on the Japanese alcohol industry’s self-regulation on airtime (no advertisements from 5 am to 6 pm) and the content of alcoholic beverages, which must not tempt minors. However, many adolescents (10 to 19 years old) watch TV from 6 pm to 11 pm. The aim of this study was to describe the pattern in the advertising of alcoholic beverages and alcohol-flavoured non-alcoholic beverages (AFNAB) in Japan during the popular TV viewing time for adolescents.
A secondary analysis of advertising airtime data from five free-to-air Japanese TV networks in the Greater Tokyo area that aired between 12 August and 3 November 2019, was performed.
During the study period, 5215 advertisements for alcoholic beverages and AFNABs aired (1451.75 min). In total, 2303 advertisements (44.2%) were beer, low-malt beer, or beer-taste beverages, 277 (5.3%) were whisky, 2334 (44.8%) were local alcoholic beverages (shochu and seishu), and 301 (5.8%) were AFNAB.
On average, more advertisements aired on weekends (67.6 advertisements) than on weekdays (59.3 advertisements) per day.
Approximately 30% of advertisements for AFNABs were aired during the time restricted for alcohol advertising, although AFNABs are considered alcohol according to industry guidelines.
During the popular television viewing time for young adolescents, about two to three times more advertisements were aired per hour than during the rest of the day, on both weekdays and weekends (p < 0.001).
The number of alcohol advertisements aired at times when adolescents often watch TV is 2 to 3.2 times higher than that at other times of the day. Furthermore, despite the industry’s self-imposed regulations, some alcoholic beverages are still advertised. Therefore, other methods to protect children and adolescents from exposure to advertisements for alcoholic beverages should be investigated and implemented.