Exposure of Hispanic Youth to Alcohol Advertising, 2003–2004

  • October 25, 2005

In August 2005, the Spanish-language television station WXTV in New York made headlines when it drew more prime-time viewers in the key demographic category of 18- to 49-year-olds than the stations owned by the big three networks of ABC, CBS and NBC.3 Spanish-language TV was the fastest-growing category of advertising spending in the first six months of 2005. Advertisers are catching up with what the U.S. Census revealed in 2000: Hispanics are the fastest-growing ethnic group in the United States. And, they are younger than the general population: 40% of Hispanics were under 21 in 2002, compared to only 30% of the general population.

Alcohol producers, like most other consumer product industries, are seeking their share of the Hispanic market. The allure of this market is clear, given one estimate that Hispanic purchasing power in 2004 reached nearly $700 billion and will approach $1 trillion by 2010. One example of the alcohol industry's recognition of the importance of Hispanics is the recent move by Anheuser-Busch, makers of Budweiser and the nation's largest brewer, to create a new vice presidential post to oversee Hispanic marketing in August of 2005.8 Dow Jones Newswires reported on other recent marketing initiatives to the Hispanic community by U.S. beer makers:

  • In addition to the Anheuser-Busch move, Molson Coors Brewing Co. has named a vice president charged with coordinating sales and marketing to Hispanics.
  • SABMiller's Miller Brewing Co. has agreed to a $100-million advertising package over three years with Spanish-language broadcaster Univision Communications Inc.

In 2003 and 2004, 10 alcohol brands spent close to $160 million to advertise on Spanish-language television. However, younger Hispanics are more likely to use English- than Spanish-language media. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) commissioned Virtual Media Resources (VMR) to analyze the exposure of Hispanic youth, ages 12 to 20, to alcohol advertising in English-language magazines, on English- and Spanish-language radio stations, and on the television programming in both languages most popular with Hispanic youth in 2003 and 2004.