|Received:||11/24/2006 1:28:35 AM|
|Organization:||Woman's Christian Temperance Union of San Diego|
|Agency:||Federal Trade Commission|
Comments:Why is the alcohol industry being allowed to advertise at college related events when many of the youth are not old enough to drink? By allowing advertising at college sports events, the alcohol industry gives a message glamorizing the use of alcohol as a way to have a good time, to celebrate life, to kick back and relax, to get the girls or guys to "parteeeeee". To target vulnerable youth who are looking for acceptance is unconscionable. The enticement to youth to be accepted is fully exploited by the alcohol industry. Since young consumers are constantly looking for instant gratification, the alcohol industry knows that advertising is the major way youth are enticed into buying cool alcoholic drinks. The alcohol industry produces eye-catching materials, graphics and websites. And they play to the vulnerability of youth by developing all sorts of new drinks with exciting names, sleek labels and fashionable advertising in magazines read by youth. With spectacular promotions their designer drinks became fashionable as part of the drug scene and "the good life." With constant innovation, they encourage drinking as a fashion accessory. This industry knows that youth are always looking for something new and exciting and they provide it. It is no coincidence that the latest drinks are pointed toward our youth. After all, they are the future for the brewers and the younger they can catch our kids, the more chance they have of keeping them. While kids are taught to say no to drugs, there is no clear message that alcohol is the worst drug of all. And advertising is the key! A good case in point is alcopops. These products, with such names as Skyy Blue, Bacardi Silver, Smirnoff Ice and Mike's Hard Lemonade, are "sweet- tasting alcoholic drinks that mimic familiar nonalcoholic beverages like cola, lemonade, ice tea and fruit-favored water." They are proving to be popular with under-ages drinkers, especially girls. In fact, a survey by the American medical Association indicated that more than 30% of 18 year old girls have tried these "Alcopops," and 82% find them better tasting than beer. Here in California we just finished a fight to keep them from being marketed as beer instead of hard liquor which would mean they could do advertising on television, thus exposing more and more of our children to these new flavor-friendly products. Fortunately we had a governor who vetoed the bill. To appear responsible, the alcohol industry develops and funds nationally promoted programs and advertising that make them seem like they really are concerned. Yes, they are concerned but not about the youth; rather they are concerned about their profits. Underage drinking is worth nearly $23 billion a year to the alcohol industry (Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine May, 2006). And if they really do believe that hype, they are deceiving themselves The current alcohol strategy is for parents talking to kids early and often. This makes parents responsible and lets the alcohol industry off the hook. And then the alcohol industry teams up with NASCAR races, linking alcohol to driving. And its not hard to find the statistics for teens involved in alcohol deaths and injuries. And lets not ignore binge drinking which is a serious problem on college campuses that is not helped one iota by the advertising targeted at youth. Advertising to teens and college students only worsens a problem that is already out of control. Congratulations to the Big Ten Network (which is a massive category in sports television) for its refusal to accept alcohol advertising . Lets do the same thing with college sports!