Adolescent and young adult perceptions of Australian alcohol advertisements
There is substantial evidence that children and youth are exposed to and recall alcohol advertising, and increasing evidence of associations between liking alcohol advertisements and under-age drinking. Alcohol advertising in Australia, as in many industrialized countries, is subject to a self-regulatory code developed and administered by the alcohol industry. The purpose of the current study was to investigate young people’s perceptions of the messages in recent alcohol advertisements and whether these perceptions support the industry view that self-regulation is effective in protecting young people from inappropriate messages about alcohol. Six print and six television advertisements were selected for the study, and 287 respondents aged 15–24 years viewed two alcohol advertisements (one print and one television) and completed a questionnaire immediately after viewing each advertisement. The respondents perceived messages in the advertisements regarding several social benefits of consuming alcohol, including that the advertised product would make them more sociable and outgoing, help them have a great time, help them fit in, help them feel more confident, help them feel less nervous, and help them succeed with the opposite sex. All of these messages transgress the terms of the self-regulatory code for alcohol advertising. There was also a strong association between emotional responses to the advertisements and stated intentions to try the advertised products.
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