Saturated in Beer

Awareness of Beer Advertising in Late Childhood and Adolescence

Published in: Journal of Adolescent Health, v. 37, no. 1, July 2005, p. 29-36

Posted on RAND.org on June 30, 2005

by Rebecca L. Collins, Phyllis L. Ellickson, Daniel F. McCaffrey, Katrin Hambarsoomian

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PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to examine exposure, response to, and awareness of beer advertising in 2 age groups, including awareness of a Budweiser advertisement (ad) that portrayed lizards and an animated ferret. METHODS: In the spring of 2000, 1,996 fourth graders and 1,525 ninth graders attending 1 of 60 South Dakota schools participated in an in-school survey. Several indicators of advertising awareness, exposure, and response were assessed: recognition, product naming, brand naming, and liking in response to stills drawn from 4 masked television beer ads, listing of beer brands, exposure, attention to, and skepticism toward television beer ads. RESULTS: Fourteen percent of 4th graders and 20% of 9th graders recognized at least 3 of 4 sample beer ads. Seventy-five percent of 4th graders and 87% of 9th graders recognized the Budweiser ferret ad; about one in three 4th graders could name the brand it advertised, whereas more than three in four 9th graders could do so. When asked to list as many beer brands as they could, almost 29% of 4th graders listed 3 or more beer brands and 82% of 9th graders did so. Ninth graders liked beer advertisements more and paid greater attention to them, but 4th graders were exposed to them more often. CONCLUSION: Television beer ads result in high levels of beer advertising awareness in children as young as age 9, and even higher awareness among 14-year-olds. Practices that expose or appeal to youth, including use of animated characters, should be avoided by beer advertisers.

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