The relationship between brand-specific alcohol advertising on television and brand-specific consumption among underage youth

Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2014 Aug;38(8):2234-42. doi: 10.1111/acer.12488. Epub 2014 Jul 1.


Background: Being able to investigate the relationship between underage drinkers' preferences for particular brands and their exposure to advertising for those brands would represent a significant advance in alcohol marketing research. However, no previous national study has examined the relationship between underage youth exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising and consumption of those brands.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional, Internet-based survey of a national sample of 1,031 youth, ages 13-20, who had consumed at least 1 drink of alcohol in the past 30 days. We ascertained all alcohol brands consumed by respondents in the past 30 days. The main outcome measure was brand-specific consumption during the past 30 days, measured as a dichotomous variable. The main predictor variable was exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising on television. The respondents reported which of 20 television shows popular with youth they had watched during the past 30 days. For each respondent, we calculated a standard measure of potential exposure to the brand-specific alcohol advertising that aired on those shows during the preceding 12 months, based on Nielsen (New York, NY) estimates of the youth audience for each show's telecasts.

Results: Compared to no brand-specific advertising exposure, any exposure was associated with an increased likelihood of brand-specific consumption (adjusted odds ratio 3.02; 95% confidence interval: 2.61-3.49) after controlling for several individual- and brand-level variables. When measured as a continuous variable, the relationship between advertising exposure and brand consumption was nonlinear, with a large association at lower levels of exposure and diminishing incremental effects as the level of exposure increased.

Conclusions: There is a robust relationship between youth's brand-specific exposure to alcohol advertising on television and their consumption of those same alcohol brands during the past 30 days. This study provides further evidence of a strong association between alcohol advertising and youth drinking behavior.

Keywords: Advertising; Alcohol; Brand; Underage Drinking; Youth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Advertising / statistics & numerical data*
  • Age Factors
  • Alcohol Drinking / epidemiology*
  • Alcoholic Beverages / statistics & numerical data*
  • Consumer Behavior / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Internet
  • Male
  • Marketing / statistics & numerical data*
  • Prevalence
  • Television*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Young Adult