Fact Sheet:
Alcohol Advertising and Young People

Alcohol Advertising Influences Attitudes, Beliefs, and Behaviors

  • Young people view approximately 20,000 commercials each year, of which nearly 2,000 are for beer and wine.[1] For every "just say no" or "know when to say when" public service announcement, teens will view 25 to 50 beer and wine commercials.[2]
  • In 2000, brewers spent more than $770 million on television ads and $15 million more on radio.[3]
  • Since dropping its own TV ad ban in 1996, liquor-industry expenditures on broadcast commercials (primarily on cable TV) have skyrocketed from $3.5 million to more than $25 million in 2000.[4]
  • Diageo, maker of Smirnoff Vodka, Captain Morgan’s Rum, and Cuervo Tequila, has announced plans to spend as much as $1 billion on television liquor ads over the next five years.[5]
  • Alcoholic-Beverage Industry "Responsibility" Guidelines are a Sham

  • Even under NBC’s much-ballyhooed – and now withdrawn – proposed "responsibility" guidelines for hard liquor ads, millions of underage persons would be exposed to commercials for hard liquor, as they have been exposed for decades to appealing, funny, and seductive spots for beer. Advertising trade professionals have labeled the "85% adult audience" standard as virtually meaningless, pointing out that nearly every nighttime NBC show would qualify (72% of the U.S. population is 21 or over).[6]
  • Voluntary advertising guidelines for the beer and liquor industries allow their ads to reach audiences that are half under the minimum legal drinking age.
  • Those guidelines also explicitly permit advertisements that reach and influence underage persons, so long as they are directed primarily to adults.
  • References

    1. Strasburger, V.C. & Donnerstein, E. (1999). Children, adolescents, and the media: Issues and solutions. Pediatrics, 103 (1):129-139.
    2. Ibid
    3. Adams Business Media. (2001). Beer Handbook. Norwalk, CT.
    4. Adams Business Media. Liquor Handbook. Norwalk, CT.
    5. Chura, H. & Friedman, W. (May 13, 2002). Diageo moves forward with network plan: Marketer to run $200 million in liquor ads on TV consortium. Advertising Age.
    6. Friedman, W. (January 7, 2002). Nearly all NBC prime-time shows qualify for liquor ads. Observers: Network's new policies may unleash a flood of booze promos. Advertising Age.

    July 2002

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