How Marketing Affects and Influences Teen Alcohol Consumption
Marketing is a powerful tool with just one goal: to capture our attention as quickly as possible and to hold it long enough to entice us to buy the product they are selling. Celebrity endorsements, bright and bold packaging and the latest catchy chart hits are all adopted to sell, sell, sell, and no industry does this better than the alcohol industry. However its generally not adults that are being attracted by this youthful advertising assault, but adolescents.
In recent years, alcohol marketing and packaging has changed. What was once perceived to be a very muted and ‘grown up’ campaign policy has become increasingly youthful, driven by bright and bold colours and plenty of fun. From alco-pops to rainbow flavoured vodkas, nothing could be more appealing to teens. The teen demographic is clearly being targeted.
The Teenage Drinking Demographic
Teens tend to drink less than the adult population, but when they do drink they drink considerably more in one sitting: a concept known as ‘binge drinking’. This can impair their judgement and ultimately lead them to make bad decisions that could put them in positions of jeopardy. Further dangers of binge drinking in the teen years also include concerns that binge drinking in adolescence can lead to memory and learning impairments: impairments that could seriously jeopardise the future of individuals preparing for their final exams or on the cusp of their academic achievements.
So how are brands influencing this teen drinking demographic? Well research from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health has found that an incredible 32.5% of young people chose a specific brand of alcohol because they identified the marketing, either through its packaging, advertising campaign or celebrity endorsements. This is by far the largest reason why young people chose to purchase certain alcohol brands, followed closely only by those 27.2% of young people who chose a brand because they expected it to taste good: however this expectation could also be attributed to successful advertising campaigns.
This shows that unless we are vigilant about the types of marketing that teens are exposed to and protecting them from access to alcohol brands that they shouldn’t have access to, then marketing campaigns are only going to continue to entice more teen drinkers to try more and different alcohol brands.
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