Like fast food, soft drinks and high-calorie snacks: television advertising also works for alcoholic beverages. According to a study conducted by Susanne Tanski, professor of paediatrics at Children’s Hospital in Darmouth, there is a correlation between the number of commercials you see and the first contact youngers with beer and other spirits.
The author had already conducted a study in the past to demonstrate the association between watching films in which the protagonists consume alcohol or smoke, and the imitative behaviour from children.
The researcher selected over 2,500 children aged between 15 and 20 years, analyzing habits, social behavior, family habits… One of the questions asked if they knew a brand of alcohol and if they owned any gadgets or products signed by companies in the industry.
The participants in the study saw about twenty images taken from television commercials that promoted beer and other spirits and as many advertising images of fast food chains, like Ramazzotti or MacDonalds. In order not to influence the children, all the photographs had been deprived of the logo.
After the image session, the participants were asked to indicate which ones they remembered most, if they liked some photographs particularly and if they knew the products or restaurants advertised. The answers clearly showed the relationship between TV advertising and drinking habits: familiarity with TV commercials was in fact much more frequent among those who had already started to consume alcohol than those who had not yet done so. 59% of young people had already started drinking alcohol and, among them, 49% had done so excessively (at least six glasses at once) in the previous year.
In addition, it was found that watching people with glasses in their hands in the movies, having friends that usually drink, finding a particularly good or effective advertisement, having parents accustomed to drinking at least once a week, means having a better chance of starting to get used to alcohol first.
According to Tanki, one is inclined to drink more not when the number of spots on the food seen increases, but when the advertising of alcoholic beverages runs on the screen. The researcher commented: “Today, when companies make commercials, they follow voluntary regulations issued by themselves. The assumption is that the audience is made up of adults, but this is not the case, since in front of the screen there are often young people who recognize very well brands and products.”