Striking a Balance: Protecting Youth From Overexposure to Alcohol Ads and Allowing Alcohol Companies to Reach the Adult Market
In September 2003, both the Beer Institute and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States ("DISCUS") finally followed the Federal Trade Commission's 1999 recommendation and announced their members would raise the minimum adult audience composition of media in which they will advertise from a fairly meaningless 50 percent to a proportional 70 percent.1 This white paper seeks to examine the impact of this 70 percent threshold2 on reducing underage youth exposure to alcohol advertising. Specifically, the examination asks:
- how well the industry implemented the 70 percent threshold in the first several months of 2004 and reduced the alcohol advertising that is overexposing3 underage youth;
- whether the 70 percent threshold is, in fact, a truly proportional standard when looking at the underage population and the public health epidemic of underage drinking in the United States; and
- whether another standard offers a more reasonable balance point between reducing underage youth overexposure to alcohol advertising and the alcohol industry's right to advertise its products to the legal-age audience of age 21 and over.
View the full report
Table of Contents
- Movement toward the 70 percent threshold was uneven in 2004.
- An effective proportional youth audience cap should prevent overexposure.
- The industry understands the cap as proportional.
- A proportional cap should exclude children under 12.
- An effective youth audience cap must be tailored to the 12-to-20 population.
- Magazine and radio audience data do not include children under 12.
- A 15 percent threshold balances reducing youth exposure and industry's right to advertise.
Appendix A - Measuring compliance.
Appendix B - Glossary of advertising terms.
Appendix C - Sources.
Appendix D - Methodology for reallocating advertising schedules to comply with 15 percent cap.