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The Super Bowl of Alcohol Advertising

The Super Bowl of Alcohol Advertising

 The Super Bowl is known for its commercials almost as much as it is for the game itself. While these high-priced ads (in 2009, 30 seconds of advertising time cost $3 million) featuring football-playing zebras and talking frogs, along with product endorsements from celebrities and national heroes, are eye catching and often fun to watch, what messages do they REALLY send to Super Bowl watchers?

 A national study published in Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine (January 2006) concluded that greater exposure to alcohol advertising contributes to an increase in drinking among underage youth. On average, a young person views 23 ads for alcohol products each month. More exposure means more drinking, the studies’ authors concluded. Specifically, for each additional ad a young person saw (above the monthly youth average of 23), he or she drank 1% more. For each additional dollar per capita spent on alcohol advertising in a local market (above the national average of $6.80 per capita), young people drank 3% more. 

Another study published in 2007 of 1,786 sixth graders in South Dakota found that youth who were more exposed to alcohol marketing — including television beer advertisements, alcohol ads in magazines, in-store beer displays and beer concessions, radio advertising, and ownership of beer promotional items — were 50% more likely to be drinking when surveyed a year later.

 So what do we do? Here are some ways to deal with alcohol advertising and youth:

        Limit the time your child has to alcohol advertising by monitoring their television time, as well as other exposure opportunities (internet, radio advertising, etc)

        Use those media opportunities as conversation-starters between you and your children. Don’t assume your child knows how you feel about underage drinking – talk to them about it. Share your feelings, your concerns, and your alternatives.

        Do not allow your child to possess promotional items with alcohol-themed logos or messages (t-shirts or baseball caps, backpacks, cell phone cases, etc).

        Be aware! So many alcohol ads simply ‘blend in’ with the rest of the media we consume. Start noticing the billboards, neon signs, radio promotions, store-front displays, and other avenues alcohol is advertised. You may be shocked at the number of times we are exposed to pro-alcohol messages in a single day!

 When you begin seeing the amount of alcohol advertising that occurs locally, it may move you to action. Many communities have adopted local ordinances to restrict the amount of alcohol advertising in their city, prohibit advertising that has specific youth-targeted messages, and other proactive steps to limit youth exposure to alcohol. A great resource is the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY), on-line at camy.org.

 For more information, please contact the Gage County MAPS Coalition at 402-223-1500 x 1059 or e-mail Tara Kuipers at tkuipers@bpsne.org.


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Freeman Public Schools415 8th StreetP.O. Box 259Adams, NE  68301

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