A new study in the Journal of Adolescent Health suggests that violations of alcohol industry self-regulation codes is most widespread in magazine advertisements for beer and spirits brands. Furthermore the amount of violations and risky content seem to increase with the size of youth readership. This may suggest that the alcohol industry is actively seeking out young audiences to expose to their irresponsible marketing practices.
The study, conducted by the Department of Health, Behavior and Society of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, analyzed the content of 1.261 unique alcohol advertisements recurring 2,638 times in 11 American magazines. The selected magazines were published between 2003 and 2007, and reached disproportionately youthful readerships.
Over a quarter of all analyzed occurrences of alcohol advertisements contained content pertaining to risk, sexism, or sexual activity. Especially in beer and spirits brands a significant higher amount of occurrences with ‘addiction content’ and violations of industry guidelines was found. Also, ads with violations of industry guidelines were more likely to be found in magazines with younger readers. Consequently, persons below the age of 21 may be more likely to see such problematic content than adults.