Minors See Drinks Ads More than Adults, US Survey Finds

25 September 2002

Calls for stricter regulation of alcohol advertising in the states look set to intensify with the release of a new survey showing that minors are often more likely to see such ads in magazines than adults.

Drawn up by Georgetown University’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, the study found that twelve-to-twenty-year-olds see 45% more beer ads and 27% more liquor ads in magazines than over-21s.

Some brands have higher youth exposure than others. Teenagers view almost 80% more magazine ads for Heineken and Fosters than adults, but just 8% more for Budweiser.

In the controversial ‘alcopop’ market, underage exposure to advertisements for Kahlua Black Russian Cocktail is double that of adults, while the figure for Doc Otis’ Hard Lemon Malt Beverage and Rick’s Spiked Lemonade is 75%.

“America's parents should be disturbed by these findings,” blasted Jim O'Hara, the Center’s executive director. “They aren’t seeing these ads but their children are because that's where the industry is putting them – in the magazines their children read.”

He added that the results would be passed on to the Federal Trade Commission, which in 1999 advised the industry to adopt stricter regulations concerning advertising. O’Hara believes drinks firms have failed to meet the FTC’s demands.

However, the survey was dismissed by some alcohol industry officials. Heineken USA’s vp–corporate affairs Dan Tearno claimed the research was too strict in deciding what constitutes a youth-oriented magazine.

Data sourced from: Washington Post Online; additional content by WARC staff