Bad Study = Bad Conclusion

Yahoo! News – Study: Kids Exposed to TV Beer Marketing

Read more for my thoughts on this poorly researched and written story.

A couple quotes:

“Young people ages 12 to 20 saw two beer or ale ads in 2001 for every three such commercials aired on programs viewed primarily by adults,”

So people 12-20 are being allowed to watch adult TV by their parents. With that comes the expectation that they would be exposed to “adult” advertising. Along with violence and sex — though since that’s not mentioned in this study it is evidently less of a concern.

“The study analyzed $811 million spent on alcohol advertising on TV during 2001, representing 208,909 ads that were placed on network, cable and local broadcast outlets. Underage viewers were more likely than adults of legal drinking age to have been exposed to a quarter of the 208,909 commercials aired.

Beer and ale advertising on TV amounted to $695 million. Roughly 18,000 ads were for beer, compared with 10,000 for sneakers, 16,000 for gum and 4,000 for jeans, the research found.”

Something here just doesn’t match up. $811m in advertising for alcohol = 208,909 ads — but $695m of beer/ale advertising = 18,000 ads?

“The Beer Institute said in a statement that the industry doesn’t target underage consumers.”

No, they target adults — marketing on adult TV programs.

This study is basically another skewed statistical rhetoric put out by the Neo-Prohibitionists in an ongoing attempt to eliminate alcohol advertising of any kind. But the study is skewed from the start since they are studying what kids see while watching ADULT television. I don’t think this is a big deal. Advertisers are marketing to their audience — adults during adult television programs. If kids see the ads then it’s the parents responsibility, not the advertisers.

The bottom line is that it’s the parents responsibility teach their kids to respond properly to what they see on television, discuss it with them and monitor what their kids watch.

Quick sidetrack on this story: I think this was a very poorly written story — my opinion is that it’s likely the facts were taken from the press release and not from the study itself. Therefore it’s likely that it wasn’t researched very well or truly thought out with regard to the accuracy in the way the statistics and facts are presented in it’s conclusion. Many journalists are lazy on stories like this — preferring to regurgitate the press release rather than write their own story. This allows the group that puts out the study to come to conclusions in it’s press release that don’t necessarily match the facts in the study — or at least skews them to a certain perspective.