What Parents Want

  • July 01, 2005

Parents are troubled by underage drinking and alcohol companies' advertising practices, as shown by a June 2003 poll conducted by Peter D. Hart Research Associates and American Viewpoint for the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth. The survey's main findings include:1 

Parents perceive alcohol ads as having an impact on teen drinking habits, and they see alcohol companies as falling far short in dealing responsibly with the impact of their advertising on young people. Fully two-thirds (66%) of parents say that seeing and hearing alcohol ads makes teens more likely to drink alcohol than they otherwise would be. Almost three-quarters of parents fault alcohol companies for the amount of ads that teens see and hear.

Teens engaging in risky behavior while under the influence of alcohol ranks at the top of a list of concerns that parents have about teenagers' behavior. Eighty-two percent (82%) of parents say that teens' alcohol-related risky behavior is a problem in society today, including 56% who say that it is a big problem.

A wide gap exists between parents' perceptions of their teens' drinking habits and those habits reported by teens themselves. The largest gap is between 15-to 16-year olds and their parents. Only 31% of parents of teens in this group say that their teen probably or definitely has consumed an alcoholic beverage in the last year, as compared with 60% of teens in this age group who report having done this.

Parents reject the argument that alcohol companies' advertising practices are legitimate as they are only trying to make money like any other business. Parents overwhelmingly (81%) believe that, due to the potentially harmful effects of its products, the alcohol industry has a special responsibility to avoid exposing young people to messages encouraging alcohol consumption.

Parents' Views of Television Advertising by the Alcoholic Beverage Industry 


Special Responsibility

 Legitimate Way to Advertise

All parents



Parents of 12-to 13-year-olds



Parents of 14- to 15-year-olds



Parents of 16- to 17-year-olds













1  All survey findings from Memorandum, "Results of a National Survey of Parents," from Peter D. Hart Research Associates, Inc./American Viewpoint to All Interested Parties, Washington, DC, June 24, 2003.