Alcohol, an extremely well known drug that has been proven to be the number one cause of car accidents, is been promoted legally in many places throughout the world in the same way as many other products on the market. The alcohol industry in the U.S. freely advertises, promotes and markets alcohol to youth audiences. Despite the fact that there were 15,183 deaths from alcohol-related liver disease in America in 2009 alone (Deaths: Final Data for 2009, table 12), alcohol advertising in this part of the world remains one of the most pronounced. Elsewhere in the world some, or even all, methods of advertising alcohol are banned.
Interestingly, while young people are exposed to alcohol marketing on a daily basis, law enforcement officers are dealing with DUIs offenses and other alcohol-related crimes at the same time.
Many countries in Europe adopt a different view of alcohol advertising and prohibit TV commercials that depict minors consuming alcoholic beverages; they also closely monitor the content of advertisements and ensure that promoters do not encourage the idea that the consumption of alcohol enhances social or sexual success. This is not the case in the U.S.
Social Media and Alcohol Advertising
As with any other business that brands their product through social media, alcohol companies do not miss out on the opportunity to target young users. A YouTube video entitled Big Alcohol Watchdog Update: Facebook by Marin Institute (Alcohol Justice), describes the popularity of alcohol advertising, including comments and images, on Facebook.
Alcohol Sponsorship in Sport
One of the most predominant forms of advertising for alcohol companies is the sponsorship of sports events. According to a study by Dartmouth, youths who dress in promotional items that feature brands of alcohol, such as T-shirts and baseball caps, are more likely to drink alcohol than those who don’t.
This form of advertising has been banned in the UK, Australia, and New Zealand, after studies showed that sponsorship of athletes is closely related to the harmful consumption of alcoholic drinks.
The Marin Institute released a report entitled “Big Beer Duopoly: A Primer for Policy Makers and Regulators” that describes a study that analyzes a considerable shift in the history of the beer industry. In 2008, two major beer corporations joined other American beer companies to become one big entity that owned 80% of the alcohol market in the country. It was a big year for beer, since cheap beer is the drink of choice for many youths. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=awklycLQCIM&feature=relmfu
What can be done?
According to a national survey: “Public Attitudes about underage drinking Policies: results from a National Survey,” the public supports a reduction in alcohol advertisements that are specifically targeted at youths. The survey indicated that 77% of adults are in favor of banning alcohol sponsorship at youth-targeted events and 75% favor banning alcohol ads in youth-targeted media.
Drug education, along with less exposure to alcohol promotion, can have a significant impact on youths and can influence their decision pertaining to whether to consume alcohol or not.
For more information on drug education and alcohol rehabilitation for youths, call 1 888-812-6910.