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Keywords:

  • Advertising elements;
  • advertising exposure;
  • alcohol advertising;
  • children and youth;
  • industry self-regulation;
  • target audience rating points;
  • voluntary codes

ABSTRACT

Aim  This study investigated the exposure of underage youth to alcohol television advertising on metropolitan free-to-air television in the five mainland capital city markets of Australia.

Design  Exposure levels (target audience rating points; TARPs) were obtained for all alcohol advertisements screened from November 2005 to October 2006 in each capital city market for: children 0–12 years; underage teens 13–17 years; young adults 18–24 years; and mature adults 25+ years. The 30 most exposed advertisements across age groups were then content-analysed for elements appealing to children and underage youth.

Results  In each of the five metropolitan markets, mature adults were most exposed to alcohol advertising. Children were exposed to one-third the level of mature adults and underage teens to approximately the same level as young adults. However, there was considerable variation in media weight between markets, such that underage teens in two markets had higher advertising TARPs than young adults in other markets.

All 30 highest exposed advertisements contained at least one element known to appeal to children and underage youth, with 23 containing two or more such elements. Fifteen of the 30 advertisements featured an animal.

Conclusions  The self-regulation system in Australia does not protect children and youth from exposure to alcohol advertising, much of which contains elements appealing to these groups.