Teens Not Deterred By Alcohol Advertisements

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Teens Not Deterred By Alcohol Advertisements

There are currently strict guidelines in place for advertising tobacco and alcoholic substances to minors. These guidelines state that the people featured in the ads must be 25 years or older, and the advertisements cannot be directed specifically towards those underage. But do these guidelines actually deter youth from using these substances? A new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology says it does not.

The study, titled “The effects of advertising models for age-restricted products and self-concept discrepancy on advertising outcomes among young adolescents,” looks at how similarity of age may drive purchases of these products. Advertisers are creating their ads based on the notion that using a 25 year old model will entice people 25 years of age to use their product. But the experiments conducted in this study show that people as young as 17 are drawn to these ads as well.

The researchers conducted experiments with mock magazines. They gave a magazine filled with advertisements to adolescents around 17 years old, some of which included people of 17 years of age smoking or drinking, others which included people of 25 years of age doing the same. They found that the teens were more drawn to the ads with the 25-year-old models.

These interesting results raise the question of whether these guidelines are actually preventing teens from experimenting these substances. The authors of the study hope they may eventually be reevaluated.