MAY 2003

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Hispanic Youth Overexposed To Alcohol Ads
From El diario
April 3, 2003

Cándida Portugués

Hispanic youth under the age of 21 hear 34 percent more radio advertisements in English for alcohol than adults of legal age hear ads for the same products. They are also 26 percent more exposed to advertisements for alcohol than the rest of American youth, according to a study carried out by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) of Georgetown University.

These figures would be even higher if the study included Spanish language radio, Jeanette Noltenius of CAMY told El Diario. The paradox is that the alcohol industry is directing its ads for beer fundamentally at an audience that isn’t old enough to buy its products legally. This explains as an “inversion” in the long run: youths subjected to such publicity have a stronger disposition to drink when they become adults.

“In our community the industry knows that 95 percent of Latinos prefer to drink beer, that we have a drinking culture, that we drink in all social events and that Latinos drink earlier because their parents drink,” said Noltenius.

To gauge the economic interest that the alcohol industry has in this, it is enough to say that they spent $1.570 billion on publicity alone in the year 2001.

The CAMY study, carried out during 2001 and 2002, integrates two elements, advertisements and audience. For one side, Virtual Media Resources monitored radio advertisements. For the other, Media Monitors did a specific sampling of 87,094 ads in 19 national markets. Finally, the sides were integrated with information from the company Arbitron, which specializes in audience studies looking as much at age, as on the time and location of advertisements.

Between these results, it was determined that 73 percent of radio advertisements for alcoholic beverages were broadcast during programs of music popular among youth.

According to Jim O’Hara, director of CAMY, 20 of the 160 brands examined directed their advertisements at an audience that is not legally allowed to drink, not at the 21 to 34 crowd that the industry claims is their target audience.

The alcohol industry’s preference for radio ads is interesting since radio is the medium adolescents, who spend 13.5 hours a week listening to the radio, are most exposed to. The next most popular formats are television (10.6 hours weekly), the internet (7.6 hours weekly) and finally reading (3.3 hours weekly).

The possibility of “the innocence of the industry” can be rejected since radio stations define very clearly who their listeners are. CAMY completes studies about alcohol. Its mission is to call attention to the practices of the alcohol industry that can put in danger the health and security of American youth.

* * * * * *

Alcohol Consumption Rises Among Latin Youth
From El Diario
April 4, 2003

By Cándida Portugués

A panel of experts is working on a study on the underage consumption of alcohol at the request of Congress. The results of the study will be made public in about two months, Marilyn Aguirre-Molina told el Diario. Ms. Aguiree Molina, a professor of public health at Columbia University, is one of the panelists.

“The results will bring the adoption of measures to protect young people, who are affected in a very special manner by advertisements,” she said.

The study coincides with the theme of a Center on Alcohol Marketing Youth report that el Diario reported on yesterday. CAMY, part of Georgetown University, indicated in its study that underage drinkers, especially Hispanics, are overexposed to advertisements for these products.

“When it is investigated why people drink, the impact of advertisements cannot be denied, because they are directed at underage audiences. And more with our youth, who are not influenced only by advertisements in English, but also in Spanish. Messages in both lanugages present alcohol to them as something that’s cool and enjoyable,” said Aguiree-Molina.

Studies like CAMY’s coincide with objective data that those who drink alcohol at an early age are affecting their brains and their growth, have a greater possibility of aggressive behavior, develop alcoholism, and have unwanted sexual relations. According to one recent study, many Latino youths have been forced into sexual encounters after drinking.

“Youth, and especially Latino youth, are drinking like nothing we have seen before. In the age group of 12 – 14 years old there are many that drink. This can be explained as a result of many things, but kids don’t need help from advertisements telling them that it’s cool to drink,” said. Aguirre-Molina.

Translated from Spanish by Joshua Brustein

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