Alcohol ads target people under 21
New research published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs suggests that 18 to 20 year olds are the most heavily exposed age group to advertising by some of the alcohol brands they’re most likely to consume. This age group also has one of the highest rates of excessive alcohol use and alcohol abuse disorders.
The researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health used national magazine readership data to identify the age groups that received the highest exposure to advertising for the top brands known to be consumed by underage males and females. For males, the data revealed that of the top 25 brands, 17 were targeted at 18 to 20-year-olds. For 11 brands, exposure was greater for this age group than any other group. The results were similar for females, if not a little higher.
According to the voluntary U.S. code for alcohol advertising, only magazines that attract an audience in which less than 30 percent of the readers are under 21 should be publishing alcohol ads. The study doesn’t show that brands are necessarily breaking this code, but the researchers concluded that the code may not be very effective in protecting underage readers from marketing by alcohol brands.