Study: Liquor ads don't target teens

July 8, 2006

A Penn State researcher finds that there is no evidence that liquor companies are aiming magazine ads at teenagers.

Jon Nelson, a professor emeritus of economics, reviewed alcohol ads in 28 magazines from 2001 to 2003 and analyzed them by demographics: the percentage of youth readers, adult median age, adult median real income, percentage of adult male readers. He also measured by magazine characteristics: circulation, single copy sales, content category, annual number of issues, and advertisement cost per 1,000 readers.

"Beer advertisers favor magazines with more young adults, male readers and larger adult audiences, but not teens," Nelson said. "Spirits producers prefer magazines with more young adults, male readers and larger adult audiences but not teens; they also favor magazines with lower costs per advertisement."

Generally, beer and liquor producers target young adults because they tend to drink more and because data show they have not developed strong brand loyalties.

Nelson's findings were published in the July issue of Contemporary Economic Policy.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

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