Young Blacks Disproportionately Exposed to Alcohol Ads, Study SaysWASHINGTON
Young Blacks see far more than their share of the $333 million worth of advertising placed in major magazines by the nation’s alcohol industry, a new university study says.
A report by Georgetown University’s Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, released last month, said Blacks from 12 to 20 years old saw 77 percent more of these ads in 2002 than their non-Black peers did.
The disproportionate exposure was amplified when the report broke down types of alcohol. Young Blacks saw 81 percent more magazine ads for distilled spirits, the study found.
The report shows “that the industry is directly targeting Black kids,” says Rev. Jesse Brown, executive director of the National Association of African Americans for Positive Imagery. “African American kids tend to be trendsetters in what they buy, so the industry thinks if it can get more African American kids to buy, it can also get their White counterparts to buy.”
Jack Daniel’s was among the largest spenders on alcohol ads that reached Black youth through magazines, the study found. The whiskey maker denied targeting any underage markets.
“We’ll gag at a gnat and swallow a camel before we advertise in anything that’s major thrust is under-drinking-age people,” says Roger Brashears Jr., Jack Daniel’s Lynchburg, Tenn., promotions director.
The magazines that most exposed young Blacks to alcohol ads were Sports Illustrated, Vibe, Cosmopolitan, ESPN The Magazine, Jet, Rolling Stone, Entertainment Weekly, Ebony, In Style, Playboy, GQ, Essence and People.
The report also found that alcohol companies spent $11.7 million in 2002 on advertising in the 15 television shows that are most popular among Black youth, including “The Bernie Mac Show,” “The Simpsons,” “King of the Hill” and “George Lopez.”
Young Blacks were also more likely than their non-Black counterparts to hear radio ads for alcohol products. Because most radio alcohol advertising is placed locally, the report examined the information by region. Five areas — New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Houston-Galveston and Washington — accounted for 70 percent of Black youth exposure to alcohol advertising on the radio.
Peter Cressy, president of the Distilled Spirits Council, criticized the report calling it “anti-alcohol advocacy, plain and simple.”
“If you dig beneath their rhetoric and look at their own data, it shows spirits advertising is clearly directed to adults,” Cressy says.
The report was based on the same information that agencies use to determine where to place ads. Methods used to analyze the information complied with industry standards, the center said.
— Associated Press
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