The brewing industry has a stated policy that no actor or actress under the age of 25, or appearing to be close to 21, should appear in beer advertising. We found that 40 percent of the junior-high and high-school students studied believed at least one person under 21 appeared in one of the four television beer advertisements each saw (out of a pool of 48 randomly selected TV beer ads). Beer advertisers have been criticized for using sports content and celebrities in beer ads and for airing the ads during sports programming, on the grounds that teenage boys would be particularly vulnerable to such approaches. We found that the criticism was well-founded with respect to use of sports content in the ads but that the ads were no more effective during sports than they were during entertainment programming. Finally, we have published several papers describing findings that can be used by educators to improve their alcohol-abuse prevention efforts.

Michael D. Slater, associate professor
Colorado State University

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