Teenagers & Alcohol & Marketing

Drunken teenager A new meta-analysis of studies seems to cause some major concern regarding the impact advertising has on teenagers’ drinking habits. Published in the BioMedCentral Public Health journal, the study which analysed seven previous studies found that there is a substantial link between advertising exposure and under-age drinking (the study is available here). However, it seems that not only advertising is the bad guy, but also other (and often less regulated) forms of marketing communications, such as product placements in games, movies & popular television series.

Although alcohol advertising, at least in the UK, is already heavily regulated by the CAP codes (in addition to the self-regulation by the Portman Group), many areas highlighted by the article ar not regulated under existing codes – similar to the advertising of sweets in advergames.
Yet, conversely, the question is how effective government legislation can ultimately be in avoiding teenage drinking? And, as the article shows, not only are we talking about advertising, but also about exposure to points of sale etc – which all seem to have an impact on the likelihood of teenage drinking. Therefore, the question must remain what is a more effective way of getting teenagers (and adults for that matter!) to recognise the potential dangers of (binge-) drinking… and sure Social Marketing campaigns must be providing an excellent potential solution.

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