High-Tech Marketing Targets Teens

Marketing strategies are going high tech as alcohol companies’ ads have shifted from billboards and magazines to the World Wide Web. A new study shows they are attracting teenagers to their sites, and in the process, encouraging underage drinking.

The study shows that these websites have content that's attractive to youth, and they get the message across by using a very popular resource. They say the purpose of this study is to put this issue in the spotlight.

Everything from video games to links to download music, it's all found on thousands of websites for alcohol companies. A study by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, or CAMY, shows that's why nearly 700,000 visitors to these websites in the last six months were under 21.

A wide range of catchy alcohol related personality tests and ways to mix drinks are all easily accessible. The study shows the majority of these web sites do ask if you’re under 21, but it doesn't prevent underage users from gaining access. It's a matter of clicking yes or no.

The director of CAMY says the alcohol industry is failing in its responsibility to both America's parents and children.

He says, “These alcohol websites are a virtual cyber playground with no adult supervision. The alcohol industry's marketing codes are not protecting our youth."

The report shows a need for the federal public health service to monitor the alcohol industry's practices and also make parents aware of the trend of these catchy tactics. CAMY's communications director says now is the time for parents to monitor their teens because teens have more time on their hands during the coming spring break week.

This is not the first time a study like this has been done, actually about five years ago, a study resulted the Beer Institute and the Distilled Spirits Council of the U.S. to revise their advertising codes.