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The Influence of Marketing and Alcohol Consumption with Teens

They say a goldfish has an attention span longer than the average consumer. So, a marketing team has to pull off the seemingly impossible task of capturing our attention in a very short amount of time or the appeal is gone.

Oh the power of marketing…within five flat seconds, a good advertisement will capture our attention and have us enticed to buy the product. Colorful and intriguing packages that are appealing to the eye will have you studying it even more. Have a catchy tune with that image and add a celebrity to the mix – and voila – we have been hooked.

And there is one industry that has marketing to a tee…the alcohol industry. From Clydesdales to catchy jingles, no one says it all quite like the revolutionizing alcoholic beverage industry. Unfortunately it’s not only adults who get mesmerized by the liquid gold. No, this industry has its hooks in the adolescent population as well.

From Clydesdales to catchy jingles, no one says it all quite like the revolutionizing alcoholic beverage industry.– Raychelle Lohman

The Alcohol Marketing Plan

Have you ever stopped to look at how alcohol packaging has changed over the years? From glass bottles to seemingly innocent wine boxes (that look like a child’s juice box), marketing measures have definitely ramped up their appeal to all populations. And how about that energy drink that’s really an alcopop? In case you don’t know alcopops are sweet, fruit-flavored or fizzy alcoholic drinks. They look like an innocent soda or energy drink, but can contain up to 12% ABV (Alcohol by Volume). Many flavored alcoholic beverages come in bright, eye catching cans.

Alcohol is the most commonly used/abused drug among teens in the United States. It is responsible for approximately 4,300 youth deaths each year.– Raychelle LohmannHard liquor can come in anything from small one shot bottles to innocent looking pouches. Vodka comes in a variety of tasty flavors and its package can resemble a water bottle. Yes, the alcohol industry has done a magnificent job making their drinks highly appealing to their consumers young and old.

Alcohol is the most commonly used/abused drug among teens in the United States. It is responsible for approximately 4,300 youth deaths each year. According to research, about 33% of eighth graders and 70% of twelfth graders have consumed alcohol. About 13% of eighth graders and 40% of twelfth graders drank during the past 30 days. So despite the fact that underage drinking is at an all-time low, this nation still has a problem to combat with underage drinking.

Portrait of the Teenage Market

While teens drink less frequently than adults, they do drink more in each sitting and are even more prone to binge drink. Excessive alcohol consumption can impair their judgment and put them and others in jeopardy. Plus, binge drinking in adolescence has been associated with memory and learning impairments which may be irreversible.

According to a study released in the Journal of Adolescent Health, youth exposure to alcohol marketing affects teen drinking behavior. This study found a link between teens who report choosing a particular brand of alcohol because of marketing, media, or adult influence are more susceptible to drink and have adverse consequences associated with their drinking behavior than those who cite other reasons for selecting a brand.

In 2012 researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health conducted an Internet survey in which 1,031 youth between the ages of 13 and 20 reported having consumed alcohol within the past month. Of the participants, 541 reported having a choice of multiple alcohol brands the last time they drank. Additionally researchers questioned the youth about their brand choice. Based on the answers they were able to classify the youth into five distinct groups:

  • Brand Ambassadors, (32.5%) these youth chose a specific brand because they identified the marketing.
  • Tasters, (27.2%) these youth chose a brand because they expected it to taste good.
  • Bargain Hunters, (18.5%) these youth selected a brand because it was cheaper than the others.
  • Copycats, (10.4%) these youth selected a brand because they’d seen adults drinking it, or seen it consumed in movies or other media
  • Others (11.5%)

The findings showed that about one in three youth reported choosing a brand of alcohol based on advertising and marketing. Just comes to show the power of marketing! The findings also suggest that alcohol advertisements, media images, and celebrity endorsements play a role in the brands that youth gravitate toward.

So unless we are vigilant about protecting our youth, this multibillion dollar industry has the power to entice them into buying their toxic liquid.

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