Alcohol Awareness Month: Advertising Works! (for the Alcohol Industry)
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, brought to us by NCADD, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. NCADD is a nonprofit organization dedicated to fighting “the Nation’s #1 health problem – alcoholism, drug addiction and the devastating consequences of alcohol and other drugs on individuals, families and communities.”
Alcohol Awareness Month is an annual initiative to focus attention on alcohol and alcoholism related issues. The theme for this year is “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use.” is designed to draw attention to the role parents can play in preventing teen alcohol use. Here are some startling facts gleaned from NCADD’s materials found at NCADD.org to promote Alcohol Awareness Month.
- Alcohol is a primary factor in the four leading causes of death for persons ages 10-21.
- Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
- Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
- The typical American will see 100,000 beer commercials before he or she turns 18.
- Kids who drink are more likely to be victims of violent crime, to be involved in alcohol-related traffic crashes, and to have serious school-related problems.
- A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
- Consistent and sustained parental attitudes can influence a child’s decision about whether or not to use alcohol and drugs.
- Kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
About those 100,000 beer commercials that a teenager will see: A report published online in the American Journal of Drug and Alcohol Abuse shows that overall exposure to brand-specific alcohol advertising is a significant predictor of underage youth alcohol brand consumption, with young people ages 13-20 more likely to consume brands of alcohol that they have seen advertised. The new data found that youth are more than five times more likely to consume alcohol brands that advertise on national television, and 36 percent more likely to consume alcohol brands that advertise in national magazines, compared to brands that don’t advertise in these forms of media.
In 2011 the alcohol industry spent at least $3.5 billion in advertising and promotional expenditures, much of it in media venues in which youth compromise a disproportionate share of the audience.
Initiatives like Alcohol Awareness Month and other preventative programs sponsored by the NCAAD, are no doubt Herculean in their attempts to counter the pervasive media exposure targeted towards not just of-age drinkers but soon to be consumers. It will take more than parental guidance to steer teenagers away from the enticing commercials that appear not only in prime time slots but also in social media channels.