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TV Commercials Influences Underage Drinking

Updated on November 30, 2012

Alcohol Advertisements InfluenceTeens

Underage Drinking Promoted by Television Ads by Eric J. Specht

Adolescence is a controversial period with ones self-identity, so we certainly cannot position the entire blame with underage teens consuming alcoholic beverages entirely on their parent or guardians. Granted, parents play a primary role in disciplining their children’s behaviors and judgments, but TV advertisements have the power of persuasion, therefore, they need to advertise alcohol-tainted beverages appropriately on our network channels. Nine years ago, an analysis indicated age groups ranged from twelve to twenty years old seen more alcohol beverage ads on television than commercials that directly marketed their products to young people (Schwartz, 2002). This study captured my attention to notice such advertisements are still unacceptable today. I deem this contentious issue regarding underage drinking is due primarily because of poorly regulated televised commercials.


Alcohol brewers and distillers argue their advertisements do not target illegal aged society members, then why are their ads on basic network channels? In their defense, I am grateful they express to drink responsibly to ensure moral stability. However, Family televised teenaged hits, such as Gilmore Girls are just for the family audience. Furthermore, I enjoy watching sporting programs with my children and my children’s friends; however, preventing them from viewing alcoholic beverage commercials becomes hectic and nearly impossible because these ads appear more on TV than industries that market clothing, food, and teenage hygiene products (Schwartz, 2002). In order for my kids to sustain morally correct and ethnical behaviors, figuratively, I glue the TV remote control to my hand so I can omit Budweiser and Captain Morgan commercials that appear during popular family network intermissions. If we cannot forbid the sponsoring of alcoholic beverages on elementary television channels than we should discipline the reckless industries as if they were teenagers by dictating the time in which their public notices will appear on TV.


In addition to industries unsuitably promoting alcoholic beverages on TV before youth curfews, they also manipulate teens by correlating alcoholic beverages with societies various walks of life. Debating how I perceive their ads, the industries claim the ads promote only the sale of their product not the social aspect, otherwise; they would be endorsing any alcoholic beverage, which may reduce the sale of their own product. I believe adolescences who participate in academic and sporting affairs usually anticipate the social gatherings accompanied with alcohol regardless of the events outcome. Why, because TV alcoholic beverage ads promote alcohol through celebrities, sporting events, vacations, and overall for mere entertainment. According to Dr. Novello, they sponsor alcohol as a life style because the ads illustrate that our social activities go hand in hand with alcohol. Furthermore, when the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services stipulates, “…regulation of alcohol advertising is weak and fragmented” (Hilts, 1991), it proves obvious that televised campaigns promoting alcoholic beverages are not appropriate for minors to view.


I thought superintendent’s primary position is to oversee regulations and to revamp them when they appear corruptive. Supervisors, similar to Mr. Becker, argue censoring advertised alcoholic beverages on television would be an incompetent method. Mr. Becker, head of beer and trade group said he is successfully treating the underage drinking plague in Michigan by investing in education campaigns and enforcing existing laws prohibiting underage drinking (Schwartz, 2002). I will grade his efforts with an A for neglecting the impact-televised alcoholic beverage advertisements have on underage society. Clearly, Mr. Becker acknowledged underage drinking as an issue; however, I believe he is merely tending to the superficial abrasions on the subject rather than hospitalizing the ruthlessness of the issue. I believe the severity of underage drinking is due to the immense number of youths wrongfully announced televised alcoholic beverage ads reach. For example, a report from the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Georgetown University revealed, “The average young person saw 245 alcohol ads in 2001” (Schwartz, 2002), which was promoted on television alone.


The advertising and alcohol companies backbones on the debate is that they help nurture the economy by providing employment and recycling their profits, but in no means do their restrictions look after my children’s health. The destructive impact underage drinking has on our youth’s health proves to be in a survey conducted by The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism . The organization publicized the largest alcohol study ever achieved, which revealed that “more than 43% of teen-agers who began drinking before age 14 developed alcoholism later in life” (O’Neal, 1998.). Comparing this disturbing study to the overwhelming amount of commercials adolescents view and identify with draws me to conclude that televised alcoholic beverage ads contribute a major portion to the underage drinking issue. As far as I understand, the purpose of the advertisements are to sustain or even increase the statistics by cradling the future generation, feeding them alcohol bottles, and then investing their hard-earned money into the addictive substance that will eventually control them.

The Truth

False pretenses delivered frequently by televised alcoholic beverage ads suggests that social acceptance is acquired when I am holding a cold bottle of beer, or a smooth tasting liquor on the rocks. I believe there is more than enough toxicity in the industries bottle of trickery to hold them accountable for allowing such absurd advertisements to continuously air on television. I judge the central focus in effectively reducing underage consumption of alcohol, and to improve the nation’s future overall is to renew and strictly enforce regulations concerning TV alcoholic beverage public notices. The Industries can argue all they want, but I find it ironic that they deny the regulations permitting alcoholic beverage advertisements on TV have any fault with underage drinking, after all, is that not the first stage of alcoholism, denial!


Hilts, P. J. (1991, November 5). Alcohol Ads Criticized as Appealing to
Children. In ProQuest [New York Times]. Retrieved May 20, 2010, from
ProQuest database. (964455031)

O'Neal, G. (1998, January 15). Drinking early in life raises alcoholism risk.
In ProQuest [USA TODAY]. Retrieved May 20, 2010, from ProQuest database.
(Document ID: 25397793)

Schwartz, J. (2002, December 18). Alcohol ads on TV find their way to teenagers,
a study finds, despite industry guidelines. In ProQuest [New York Times].
Retrieved May 20, 2010, from ProQuest database. (Document ID: 268957051)


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