Internet Alcohol Marketing Recall and Drinking in Underage Adolescents (2020). Auden C McClure et al. Acad Pediatr. Jan-Feb 2020. 20(1):128-135. doi: 10.1016/j.acap.2019.08.003


Auden C McClure  1 Joy Gabrielli  2 Samantha Cukier  3 Kristina M Jackson  4 Zoe L B Brennan  5 Susanne E Tanski  6


Evidence suggests that adolescents are exposed to alcohol marketing in digital media. We aimed to assess recall of Internet alcohol marketing and its association with underage drinking.


New England adolescents age 12–17 years (N=202) were recruited from a pediatric clinic. Subjects completed an online survey assessing: 1) general simple recall of Internet alcohol marketing and 2) image-prompted recall of specific Internet alcohol marketing channels (display ads, commercials, brand websites, brand social media pages). Cross-sectional associations between recall (simple and image-prompted) and ever-drinking were each assessed in regression analysis adjusting for age, gender, race, parent education, ever-smoking, media use, sensation-seeking, peer/parent drinking, parent monitoring/responsiveness, and parent Internet monitoring.


In this sample (Mage=14.5 years; 55% female; 89% white; high parent education), 20% reported ever-drinking and 87% recalled Internet alcohol marketing. Of the latter, 67% recalled display ads, 67% Internet commercials, 5% websites, 5% social media pages. In logistic regression, higher simple Internet alcohol advertising recall was independently associated with higher odds of ever-drinking for simple (AOR: 2.66 [1.04,6.83]) but not for image-prompted recall.


Despite controlling for potential confounders, simple recall of Internet alcohol marketing was significantly associated with underage drinking whereas image-prompted recall was significant only in bivariate analysis, likely due to small sample and a more limited range of specific channels assessed than those accessed by adolescents. Further longitudinal studies using image-prompted recall and capturing a broader range of internet platforms could be used to better understand adolescent engagement with alcohol marketing and guide policy and prevention efforts.

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