Objective: Recently published research has identified the alcohol brands most frequently consumed by underage youth. The present study examines alcohol magazine advertising in 2011 to report age- and sex-specific exposure to advertisements for these brands in contrast with other magazine advertising brands less popular with youth.
Method: We licensed magazine advertising occurrence data from Nielsen and magazine audience data from the research company GfK MRI (Growth from Knowledge, Mediamark Research & Intelligence) for national full-run editions for 2011. We contrasted per capita advertising exposure, considering different age- and sex-specific groups, for popular youth brands versus all other magazine brands. For each brand, we reported the age group receiving the highest level of per capita advertising exposure, as well as other age groups within 10% of that peak level.
Results: Underage males ages 18-20 were the most heavily exposed age group for 11 of the top 25 brands they consumed and were within 10% of the most heavily exposed group for another 6 brands. Underage females ages 18-20 were most heavily exposed for 16 of the top 25 brands they consumed and were within 10% of the most heavily exposed group for another 2 brands. In contrast, those ages 18-20 were the most heavily exposed group for fewer than 10% of the remaining 308 magazine advertising brands for either sex.
Conclusions: These findings suggest a relationship between advertising exposure and youth alcohol brand consumption. Current alcohol industry self-regulatory codes may not be sufficiently protective of youth.