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Under the Influence? The Impact of Alcohol Advertising on Youth

Portions taken from the soon to be released Under the Influence? The Impact of Alcohol Advertising on Youth. Compiled by Diane McKenzie.

1) Durant, R.H., Rome, E.S., Rich, M., Allread, E., Emans, J., and Woods, E.R., 1997. Tobacco and Alcohol Use Behaviours Portrayed in Music Videos: A Content Analysis. American Journal of Public Health 87: 1131-135.

Music videos from 5 genres of music were analyzed for portrayals of smoking and drinking and these behaviours combined with sexuality. The study found that a higher percentage (25.7%) of MTV videos than other networks portrayed tobacco use while the percentage of videos showing alcohol use was similar on all networks. In these videos, the lead performer was most often the one smoking or drinking. This study indicates that modest levels of viewing provides high exposure to glamorized depictions of drinking and smoking, and drinking coupled with sexuality.

2) Hovius, B. and Solomon, R.N., 1996. Alcohol Advertising: A Legal Primer. Toronto: Association to Reduce Alcohol Promotion in Ontario (ARAPO).

This report summarizes existing law governing Canadian alcohol advertising. It discusses the constitutional basis of law and potential challenges under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The actual federal and provincial alcohol advertising laws are discussed.

3) Madden, P.A. and Grube, J.W., 1994. The Frequency and Nature of Alcohol and Tobacco Advertising in Televised Sports, 1990 through 1992. American Journal of Public Health 84 (2): 297 - 299.

This study examines the frequency and nature of alcohol and tobacco advertising in a random sample of 166 televised sports events representing 443.7 hours of network programming broadcast from fall 1990 through summer 1992. More commercials appear for alcohol products than for any other beverage. Beer commercials predominate and include images at odds with recommendations from the Surgeon General of the US. The audience is also exposed to alcohol and tobacco ads through appearances of stadium signs, other on-site promotions, and verbal or visual sponsorships. Moderation messages and public service announcements are rare.

4) Kelly, K.J. and Edwards, R.W., 1998. Image Advertisements for Alcohol Products: Is Their Appeal Associated with Adolescents' Intention to Consume Alcohol? Adolescence 33 (129): 47 - 59.

Alcohol advertising has been criticized because of the use of image (lifestyle) advertising, and its potential influence of teenage alcohol consumption. This study tried to determine if adolescents who drink, or intend to drink alcohol at some future time, find image ads for alcohol more appealing than product ads. The results show that image ads were preferred to product ads, particularly by younger adolescents. A positive relationship was found between preference for image ads and intent to drink in the future. Policy implications of the findings are discussed.

5) Wallack, L., Cassady, D., and Grube, J., 1990. TV Beer Commercials and Children: Exposure, Attention, Beliefs and Expectations about Drinking as an Adult. Study funded by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Washington, DC

This study examines the effects of televised beer commercials on 468 11 and 12 year old children. Children's ability to recognize commercials and recall the brands advertised is significantly related to their levels of exposure through weekend viewing and particularly sports programs. Boys are more likely than girls to watch sports programs, pay closer attention and enjoy these programs than girls, even though they watch just as much TV. The key finding is that expectation to drink as an adult is related to exposure to beer commercials, recognizing commercials, recalling the brands and beliefs about the social and ritual uses of beer. The relationship remains when socio-demographic variables such as parents drinking, gender and age are accounted for. The authors conclude that policy makers should assume that youth see and are influenced by beer commercials.

6) Wyllie, A., Fang Zhang, J. and Caswell, S., 1998. Responses to televised beer advertisements associated with drinking behavior of 10 to 17 year olds. Addiction 93 (3), 361 - 371.

This study examined the relationship between 10 - 17 year old New Zealanders' responses to alcohol advertisements and their drinking behaviour and expectations. The study supports the idea that positive responses to beer ads increased the frequency of current drinking and expected future drinking in this age group. There was no evidence that current drinking affected how much the respondent liked beer advertisements. Young people, especially 10 - 13 year old males who accepted the ads as realistic, felt that alcohol ads encouraged teenagers to drink.

7) Wyllie, A., Fang Zhang, J. and Caswell, S., 1998. Positive responses to televised beer advertisements associated with drinking and problems reported by 18 to 29 year olds. Addiction 93 (5), 749-760.

This study examined the relationships between responses to alcohol advertisements and drinking behaviour and problems. The study of 791 drinkers supported the idea that people who like televised beer commercials drank more on drinking occasions, which adds to the level of alcohol-related problems they experienced. The study also showed that the amount of people who drink, does not lead to liking beer commercials. The authors indicate that the results are consistent with a growing body of research that suggests that alcohol advertising influences the drinking behaviours of younger people.