Hispanic Kids View More Alcohol Ads, US Lobby Group Claims

05 May 2003

America’s Hispanic youths are exposed to significantly more alcohol advertising than children from other ethnic groups.

So claims a new report from lobby group the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. The study argues that in English-language magazines Hispanic minors view 24% more ads for beer than their non-Hispanic counterparts and 32% more ads for ‘malternatives’ (the growing range of sweet-tasting malt-based drinks such as Smirnoff Ice).

Radio advertising poses similar problems: Hispanic kids hear 9% more ads for distilled spirits and 17% more for what are termed ‘low-alcohol refreshers’.

CAMY continues its statistical blitz with the claim that alcohol marketers spent $23.6 million (€21.0m; £14.7m) on commercials during twelve of the fifteen television programmes most watched by Hispanic kids. It concludes that the demographic is “overexposed” to drinks ads in five markets: Houston, Los Angeles, Miami, San Antonio and San Francisco.

“This report details what many in the Hispanic community have suspected, that their youth are seeing and hearing more alcohol advertising than youth in other communities,” fumed David Jernigan, CAMY research director.

However, for Richard O'Brien, executive vp of the American Association of Advertising Agencies, there are lies, damned lies and statistics.

“What [CAMY] is doing is trying to drum up a tidal wave of concern,” he retorted. “They go through enormous contortions to make provocative statements. The premise being argued is [that] advertisers take their limited dollars to get 15% of the audience. No businessman in his right mind would do that.”

The Hispanic under-21 demographic is growing rapidly, jumping 61% in the decade to 2000 to make up 17% of America’s youth.

Data sourced from: AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff