Youth Exposure to Alcohol Ads in Mags Declined from 2001 to 2005

August 6, 2007

This article is included in these additional categories:

Magazines | Regulatory | Television | Youth & Gen X

Youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines declined 49% from 2001 to 2005 as alcohol brands shifted their advertising to television, according to a new report by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at Georgetown University.

The study also found, however, that a substantial portion – 44% of advertisements and 50% of spending in 2005 – of the alcohol industry’s advertising remains in magazines with a disproportionately young (12-20-year-old) audience composition: i.e., those with youth audiences greater than 15%, which is the proportion of youth ages 12-20 in the general population age 12 and above.

Alcohol companies spent more than $8.5 billion on advertising in measured media – television, radio, print and outdoor – between 2001 and 2005, and of that amount more than $2 billion was spent on advertising in national magazines, according to the report.

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Most alcohol companies have shifted their advertising to publications that meet the voluntary maximum of 30% youth audience composition adopted by the beer and distilled spirits trade associations in 2003, CAMY said.

According to CAMY’s report, “It Can Be Done: Reductions in Youth Exposure to Alcohol Advertising in Magazines, 2001-2005,” less than 1% of alcohol advertisements and alcohol advertising dollars in 2005 were in magazines with youth readership exceeding the industry standard, down from a high of 11% in 2002.

The CAMY report analyzed 16,635 alcohol advertisements placed in national magazines between 2001 and 2005 at a cost of nearly $1.7 billion.

Among the report’s other findings:

  • Alcohol advertising in magazines declined overall, but youth exposure fell substantially more than adult exposure. From 2001 to 2005, youth exposure fell 49%, while the number of alcohol advertisements placed per year fell 20%, and adult exposure dropped 30%. These declines reflect a trend of alcohol advertisers moving from magazines to television.

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  • During the same period, youth exposure to alcohol advertising on television increased 41%, so that combined youth exposure to alcohol advertising in these two media changed very little between 2001 and 2005.
  • In 2005, advertising placed in magazines with disproportionately young audiences accounted for more than 82% of total youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines, but only 55% of adult exposure.
  • The majority of alcohol brands (127 out of 201) had either none or less than half of their advertising in publications with disproportionately young readerships in 2005. However, 36 brands had all of their advertising, and 38 brands had the majority of their advertising in magazines such as Rolling Stone, Cosmopolitan, Stuff and Maxim that are more likely to be read by youth than adults.

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  • More than half of youth exposure to alcohol advertising in magazines came from 18 brands, 16 of which exposed youth ages 12-20 more effectively to their advertising than adults age 21 and over. These 18 brands accounted for approximately 36% of all alcohol advertising spending in magazines in 2005.

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