There is growing concern among policymakers and the general public about the impact of messages from popular and commercial cultures on youth perceptions, attitudes and health behaviors. The U.S. Congress recently asked the Department of Health and Human Services to monitor and report on rates of youth exposure to advertising and other media messages that encourage and discourage alcohol use.
Alcohol companies place television advertisements in both of these categories. Alcohol product advertising on television and per capita youth exposure to that advertising experienced historic increases between 2001 and 2005. However, youth exposure to alcohol industry-sponsored "responsibility" advertisements remained at consistently low levels compared to their exposure to alcohol product commercials. For instance, from 2001 to 2005 youth were 239 times more likely to see a product advertisement for alcohol than an alcohol industry "responsibility" message about underage drinking and 32 times more likely to see an alcohol product advertisement than an industry-sponsored "responsibility" advertisement about drinking and driving or drinking safely.
These findings come from an analysis by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) of 1,415,716 alcohol product advertisements and 41,333 alcohol industry-supported "responsibility" advertisements aired on U.S. television between 2001 and 2005, as reported in data licensed from Nielsen Media Research.
Other major findings from CAMY's analysis include: