The Potential Impact of a “No-Buy” List on Youth Exposure to Alcohol Advertising on Cable Television.

This article by CS Ross , RD Brewer and DH Jernigan appears in the January 2016 issue of the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this study was to outline a method to improve alcohol industry compliance with its self-regulatory advertising placement guidelines on television with the goal of reducing youth exposure to noncompliant advertisements.

METHOD: Data were sourced from Nielsen (The Nielsen Company, New York, NY) for all alcohol advertisements on television in the United States for 2005-2012. A “no-buy” list, that is a list of cable television programs and networks to be avoided when purchasing alcohol advertising, was devised using three criteria: avoid placements on programs that were noncompliant in the past (serially noncompliant), avoid placements on networks at times of day when youth make up a high proportion of the audience (high-risk network dayparts), and use a “guardbanded” (or more restrictive) composition guideline when placing ads on low-rated programs (low rated).

RESULTS: Youth were exposed to 15.1 billion noncompliant advertising impressions from 2005 to 2012, mostly on cable television. Together, the three no-buy list criteria accounted for 99% of 12.9 billion noncompliant advertising exposures on cable television for youth ages 2-20 years. When we evaluated the no-buy list criteria sequentially and mutually exclusively, serially noncompliant ads accounted for 67% of noncompliant exposure, high-risk network-daypart ads accounted for 26%, and low-rated ads accounted for 7%.

CONCLUSIONS: These findings suggest that the prospective use of the no-buy list criteria when purchasing alcohol advertising could eliminate most noncompliant advertising exposures and could be incorporated into standard post-audit procedures that are widely used by the alcohol industry in assessing exposure to television advertising.