Correlation Of Advertising To Consumption

In August 1993, the NATIONAL INSTITUTE ON ALCOHOL ABUSE AND ALCOHOLISM (NIAAA) had this to say about alcohol, media, and advertising: The effects of mass communications in either promoting or preventing alcohol consumption and the problems associated with it are equivocal. Alcohol advertisements and broadcast media programming have been found to encourage a favorable view of alcohol use. Yet studies provide only modest support for the hypothesis that favorable presentations lead to positive attitudes and distorted perceptions, and consequently to increased consumption, particularly among youthful viewers. The effects of advertising bans and linkages between advertising expenditures and per capita consumption also appear to be weak and inconsistent.

There is, however, a general feeling that advertising, including all of the other promotions associated with it, plays a significant role in creating an image of desirability as far as the use of alcohol is concerned. Recent reviews in the literature (Atkin 1995; Lastovicka, 1995; Grube, 1995) show a large body of research indicating that exposure to or awareness of advertising contributes to an increase in drinking. For example, Atkin et al. (1983) found that greater exposure to advertising stimulates drinking, excessive drinking, and drinking and driving (or riding with a driver who has been drinking).

Although the majority of research supports an association between advertising and consumption, researchers do not agree on the magnitude of advertising's contribution to heavy drinking. G. Frank and G. Wilcox (1988) reported: Analysis of the results reveals no significant relationship between total advertising expenditures and consumption of beer. Significant relationships were found, however, between consumption of wine and distilled spirits and their advertising. It is emphasized that the relationships are correlational, not necessarily causal.

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