Association between adolescent viewership and alcohol advertising on cable television

Am J Public Health. 2010 Mar;100(3):555-62. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2008.146423. Epub 2009 Aug 20.


Objectives: We examined whether alcohol advertising on cable television is associated with adolescent viewership.

Methods: Using Nielsen data for every national cable alcohol advertisement from 2001 to 2006 (608 591 ads), we examined whether ad incidence in a given advertising time slot was associated with adolescent viewership (i.e., the percentage of the audience that was aged 12-20 years) after we controlled for other demographic variables.

Results: Almost all alcohol ads appeared in time slots with audiences made up of 30% or fewer underage viewers. In these time slots (standardized by duration and number of viewers), each 1-percentage-point increase in adolescent viewership was associated with more beer (7%), spirits (15%), and alcopop (or low-alcohol refresher; 22%) ads, but fewer wine (-8%) ads (P < .001 for all). For spirits and alcopops, associations were stronger among adolescent girls than among adolescent boys (P < .001 for each).

Conclusions: Ad placements for beer, spirits, and alcopops increased as adolescent viewership rose from 0% to 30%, especially for female viewers. Alcohol advertising practices should be modified to limit exposure of underage viewers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adolescent Behavior / psychology*
  • Advertising / methods
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology
  • Alcohol Drinking / psychology
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Child
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Mass Media / statistics & numerical data
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Factors
  • Television / statistics & numerical data*
  • Time Factors
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult