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Alcohol Clin Exp Res. 2017 Mar;41(3):618-625. doi: 10.1111/acer.13331. Epub 2017 Feb 20.

Self-Reported Youth and Adult Exposure to Alcohol Marketing in Traditional and Digital Media: Results of a Pilot Survey.

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Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, Maryland.
Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Epidemiology Department, Boston University School of Public Health, Boston, Massachusetts.
Department of Behavioral and Community Health, School of Public Health, University of Maryland, College Park, Maryland.



Alcohol marketing is known to be a significant risk factor for underage drinking. However, little is known about youth and adult exposure to alcohol advertising in digital and social media. This study piloted a comparative assessment of youth and adult recall of exposure to online marketing of alcohol.


From September to October 2013, a pilot survey of past 30-day exposure to alcohol advertising and promotional content in traditional and digital media was administered to a national sample of 1,192 youth (ages 13 to 20) and 1,124 adults (ages ≥21) using a prerecruited Internet panel maintained by GfK Custom Research. The weighted proportions of youth and adults who reported this exposure were compared by media type and by advertising and promotional content.


Youth were more likely than adults to recall exposure to alcohol advertising on television (69.2% vs. 61.9%), radio (24.8% vs. 16.7%), billboards (54.8% vs. 35.4%), and the Internet (29.7% vs. 16.8%), but less likely to recall seeing advertising in magazines (35.7% vs. 36.4%). Youth were also more likely to recall seeing advertisements and pictures on the Internet of celebrities using alcohol (36.1% vs. 20.8%) or wearing clothing promoting alcohol (27.7% vs. 15.9%), and actively respond (i.e., like, share, or post) to alcohol-related content online.


Youth report greater exposure to alcohol advertising and promotional content than adults in most media, including on the Internet. These findings emphasize the need to assure compliance with voluntary industry standards on the placement of alcohol advertising and the importance of developing better tools for monitoring youth exposure to alcohol marketing, particularly on the Internet.


Alcohol; Internet; Marketing; Social Media; Youth

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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