Male Adolescents' Reactions to TV Beer Advertisements: The Effects of Sports Content and Programming Context

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Journal of Studies on Alcohol






Rutgers University

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Objective: This study examines white male adolescent responses to TV beer advertisements with and without sports content and to nonbeer ads when embedded in sports and entertainment programming. Method: A total of 72 advertisements and 24 television program excerpts were randomly sampled from national television programming. White male adolescents (N = 157) recruited in a public school system each viewed six ads (one of each of three types of ad embedded in each of two types of programming) comprising the 2 x 2 x 3 factorial, within-subjects, mixed-model (random and fixed effects) experimental design along with an age-level blocking factor and random factors for commercial and program stimuli. Cognitive responses to each ad were content-analyzed. Individual difference variables including alcohol use behavior, sensation-seeking, masculinity and sports involvement were also measured. Results: Subjects showed a consistent preference for beer ads with sports content. A significant three-way interaction between ad type, programming type and junior versus senior high-school age level also indicated that sports programming had an inconsistent effect on responses to beer ads but that nonbeer ads were responded to more positively during sports than during entertainment programming. Other analyses showed that subjects were more cognitively resistant to beer ads than to nonbeer ads. Conclusions: These results support public and official concerns that sports content in beer ads increase the ads appeal to underage youth. They do not support hypothesized concerns that sports programming might prime adolescents to be more receptive to beer ads. Implications for alcohol education efforts are discussed.


Originally published by Rutgers University. Publisher's PDF available through remote link.