Mag Bag: Underage Readers Heavily Exposed To Alcohol Ads In Mags

Underage Readers Heavily Exposed To Alcohol Ads In Mags

Underage adults ages 18-20 are heavily exposed to advertising for alcohol brands popular with young people in magazines, according to a new study published by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings imply that efforts at self-regulation by alcohol advertisers, intended to limit exposure of young consumers to alcohol advertising, are falling short.

The study, titled “Youth Alcohol Brand Consumption and Exposure to Brand Advertising in Magazines,” analyzed data on magazine advertising for over 300 alcohol brands, including 25 alcohol brands popular with youth, and audience data provided by Nielsen and GfK MRI.

Specifically, the study examined per capita ad exposure by gender and different age groups for all the different alcohol brands popular with youth, included Coors Light, Smirnoff, Jack Daniels, Absolut, and Heineken, among others.



According to the researchers, underage males ages 18-20 were the most heavily exposed group for 11 out of the 25 alcohol brands most popular with that age and gender group. Underage females ages 18-20 were the most heavily exposed group for 16 out of the 25 brands most popular with that age and gender group. Furthermore, both groups were also among the most exposed (top 10%) for ads for some of their other favorite alcohol brands -- six brands for males 18-20, and two brands or females 18-20.

The authors concluded: “These findings suggest a relationship between advertising exposure and youth alcohol brand consumption. Current alcohol industry self-regulatory codes may not be sufficiently protective of youth.” Currently, the self-regulatory guidelines allow alcohol brands to advertise in any publication as long as underage readers constitute less than 30% of the total audience.
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