Alcohol Advertisements Seen by Youth on TV on the Rise, According to a New Report by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth

Wednesday, June 25, 2008 General News
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WASHINGTON, June 24 A comprehensive review oftelevision advertising practices by alcohol companies from 2001-2007 finds anincrease in youth exposure to alcohol advertising and relatively few industry-sponsored "responsibility" ads. The new study, released today by the Centeron Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University, evaluatedadvertising trends and identified the best and worst brands with regard toyouth exposure to alcohol.

This report shows that more than 40 percent of youth exposure to alcoholadvertising came from ads placed on programming with a disproportionate youth(ages 12 to 20) audience -- the highest percentage since CAMY began monitoringyouth exposure in 2001.

The report data clearly show the 30 percent threshold established byalcohol trade associations in 2003 has not reduced youth exposure to alcoholadvertising on television, nor has it reduced the youth overexposure thatoccurs when advertisements are on programs with disproportionate youthaudiences.

"The sad reality for kids and parents is that the alcohol industry's 30percent standard is working on broadcast but not cable television," said CAMYexecutive director David Jernigan. "From 2001 to 2007, the number of alcoholadvertisements seen in a year by the average television-watching 12-to-20year-old has increased which is the opposite of its purpose."

CAMY's data shows advertisers have made some progress with regard toadvertising during shows where more than 30 percent of the viewers were underage 21. The percentage of alcohol product advertisements on these programswent from 11 percent in 2003 to 6.3 percent in 2007.

Alcohol remains the leading drug problem among young people, and underagedrinking is responsible for 5,000 deaths among young people each year.Scientific studies show that youth exposure to alcohol advertising contributesto the likelihood of underage drinking.

The National Research Council and Institute of Medicine, the U.S. SurgeonGeneral and 20 state Attorneys General have all recommended eliminating thisdisproportionate exposure.

In 2003, the National Research Council and Institute of Medicinerecommended that alcohol companies move toward a 15 percent threshold foryouth audiences, since this is roughly the proportion of youth in the generalpopulation. In 2006, Congress passed and President Bush signed into law theSober Truth On Preventing Underage Drinking Act (or STOP Act) requiring, amongother things, that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reportannually on rates of exposure of youth to positive and negative messages youthabout alcohol in the mass media. Although this reporting has been authorizedby Congress, funding for it has not yet been appropriated.

"Our findings continue to support the elimination of alcohol advertisingon programming with more than 15 percent youth audiences. It will save youngpeople's lives and the alcohol industry advertising dollars," said Dr.Jernigan.

About the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth

The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown Universitymonitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attentionand action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety ofAmerica's youth. The Center is supported by grants from The Pew CharitableTrusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. More information on the Centerand a full text copy of this report can be found at Mediarequests and or requests for an electronic copy of the report can also bee-mailed to study's other key findings include: -- Almost all youth overexposure to alcohol advertising occurs on cable. Almost two-thirds (63 percent) of the overexposing alcohol ad placements in 2007 were on cable television, which generated 95 percent of youth overexposure to alcohol

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