Researchers find ads could be breaching code over actors’ youthful appearance

Australian Associated Press; Fri 27 Apr 2018

‘Young people regularly perceive messages that alcohol enhances mood or confers some social benefit,’ says researcher Tina Lam.

Alcohol ads shown in Australia may be in breach of the advertising code, with many of the actors perceived to be younger than 25, a study has found.

The voluntary alcohol beverages advertising code (ABAC) requires actors be at least 25 and to clearly depicted as adults, in order to avoid any ambiguity around the legal drinking age.

But a study published on Friday found teens who drink heavily often – consuming 11 or more standard drinks per occasion – believe the alcohol ads appeal to their age group because of the attractive, young-looking actors.

Researchers at Curtin University’s National Drug Research Institute surveyed the reactions of more than 350 young people aged from 16 to 19, after they were shown six current print and online advertisements for beer, cider, wine, whiskey and sweet liqueur.

More than half thought the actors used “always” or “usually” appeared to be under 25, according to the findings published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health. A further 21% thought they “sometimes” appeared to be under 25.

Almost all (94%) thought the character used in a liqueur advertisement was under 25, and almost 30% thought the adverts were marketed at people under 18.

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