The alcohol industry can do a better job shielding America's underage youth from alcohol ads and still direct its advertising to young, legal-age drinkers, according to a white paper released today by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University.
CAMY's analysis shows that a new standard for the placement of alcohol ads could lead to overall lower advertising costs without reducing the advertising reaching the often-cited 21-to-34-year-old and 21-to-24-year-old demographic markets for the industry. Currently, the alcohol industry trade associations have standards directing their members not to place product ads where the underage audience is greater than 30 percent.
“The needed reform is for the alcohol industry to place its ads where the percentage of youth ages 12 to 20 in the audience is 15 percent or less,” said Jim O'Hara, CAMY's executive director. “It's simple math. A 15 percent threshold matches up with the percentage of 12- to 20-year-olds in the general population and eliminates the concern that underage youth are overexposed to alcohol ads.”
“It maintains the alcohol industry's right to advertise to adult drinkers over 21. In fact, a 15 percent threshold produces more efficient advertising being delivered to those who can legally buy alcohol products.”
The current 30 percent standard reflects the percentage of all persons under 21 in the United States, but, according to the CAMY white paper, by including children ages two to 11, it concentrates youth ad exposure on the 12-to-20-year-old population, those teenagers most likely to drink.
The CAMY analysis, “Striking a Balance: Protecting Youth from Overexposure to Alcohol Ads and Allowing Alcohol Companies to Reach the Adult Market,” also found:
CAMY commissioned the law firm Axinn, Veltrop & Harkrider, LLP and the media research firm Virtual Media Resources, Inc. to produce the white paper.
About the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth
The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University monitors the marketing practices of the alcohol industry to focus attention and action on industry practices that jeopardize the health and safety of America's youth. The Center is supported by grants from The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.