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It's pretty clear: Alcohol marketing efforts target juveniles

The teenage demographic in Arkansas and nationally is often pointed to as one that is comparatively vulnerable on a number of fronts.

There is, of course, peer pressure, that veritable scourge of youth that often makes adolescents say and do things they later regret. There are issues surrounding judgment, which is something that a number of behavioralists and other experts say is not fully formed in juveniles.

And there is the susceptibility of being influenced by factors and outside forces that are both obvious and more subtle.

One of those is advertising, with it being hardly surprising that companies of all stripes engage in aggressive marketing efforts geared toward taking the money of teens and garnering their long-term loyalty.

Alcohol manufacturers are no exception to this, with a recent study authored by Johns Hopkins researchers revealing a pattern of marketing by alcohol companies that seeks to attract juvenile drinkers.

Underage drinking is of course illegal, and alcohol advertisers adhere to a voluntary code pursuant to which they pledge not to advertise their products in magazines that have high popularity with an under-21 audience.

Even when they adhere to that limitation, though, evidence still suggests that their advertising very effectively influences young people.

The Hopkins research readily bears that out with this fundamental finding: The alcohol-related ads appearing in scores of national magazines repeatedly feature products that are known to be most popular with underage drinkers.

What that means, say researchers, is that such ads influence juvenile drinkers more than any other demographic.

And with such susceptibility come attendant problems that are far from surprising, such as binge drinking and drunk driving arrests.

Those outcomes can bring unanticipated and harsh consequences to youthful offenders. A proven defense attorney with experience advocating for juveniles facing criminal charges can provide rigorous representation aimed at minimizing potentially negative consequences. 

Source: Tech Times, “Alcohol brands targeting wrong audience as ads speak to underage drinkers,” Michael McEnaney, July 9, 2014

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