Comments – alcohol advertising and youth

Professor John Ford
Old Dominion University, Virginia, USA

The subject for this issue’s Comments section is alcohol advertising and its effects upon youth. Two researchers who have explored this topic in depth have taken the time to share their thoughts with the readers of the International Journal of Advertising. While both discuss the potential harmful side effects of alcohol ads on younger individuals, each takes a different path in making suggestions for future research.

In the first essay, Erica Weintraub Austin has focused on the need for media literacy programs to arm youth with the ability to resist the powerful allure of alcohol advertisements. Erica argues for the creation of sound measures for media literacy and further examination of the appropriate times and mechanisms for educating younger children. Stacey Hust, in the second commentary, has concentrated on the need for research to examine the impact of the possible alcohol advertising venues on the beliefs and behaviours of youth regarding alcohol consumption. Stacey suggests that alcohol advertisers need to be particularly aware of and sensitive to all of the different new mechanisms for youth exposure that could affect youth consumption of alcohol (e.g., games, videos, web downloads).