Big Bowl Vote

Last year, more than 98.2 million people watched the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl also draws in more than 30 percent of teenagers in the U.S., according to Nielsen, a data analytics company. That means millions of teenagers then watch the game and its ads for everything from soft drinks and detergents to cars and alcohol.

With millions of teens watching ads for alcohol during the Super Bowl, it poses a question: What effect do all these beer ads have on those teens? According to the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Health Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, young people on average see 23 ads for alcohol each month. And those ads influence young people to view alcohol more favorably and, thus, drink more. That’s why they spend tens of millions of dollars per year advertising their products, especially on sports TV. The ads we watch during the Super Bowl contribute to underage drinking throughout the country.

We at Prevention Action Alliance created the Big Bowl Vote to address these issues. The Big Bowl Vote is a nationwide survey of young people about the ads they see on the Super Bowl. The teens who participate in the Big Bowl Vote rate the ads they remember seeing and share why they like or remember those ads. Every year, ads for alcohol have rated highly, if not at the very top, of teens’ favorite ads.

The Big Bowl Vote helps young people to become critical consumers of information in our world today.

— Darren Hartberg
7th, 8th Grade Health Educator, Oregon Middle School

Additionally, the Big Bowl Vote gives educators the resources and strategies they need to teach media literacy, so students can understand, analyze, and guard against the influential power of advertisements for alcohol. The resources, ranging from tip sheets to exercises like Media Literacy Bingo, can be implemented in virtually any setting. The Big Bowl Vote aligns with the National Health Education Standards. The survey itself can be used to teach students to analyze the influence of media as a factor affecting health behaviors. The media literacy resources that are made available to participants of the Big Bowl Vote can be used to meet many more standards. Those resources can also be implemented as part of a larger curriculum; in fact, we recommend that media literacy be incorporated into classrooms rather than taught distinctly.

This important activity helps high school teens focus on the marketing and advertisement techniques used to engage our youth. The teens understand the importance of being alcohol free and are able to analyze how the commercials are directed at certain ages to promote a better appeal of a certain product. This activity provides great conversations among teens to discuss how the Super Bowl commercials impact young lives.

— Susan Frye
Interventionist/ACE Mentoring, Fremont City Schools

By teaching our kids to analyze ads and how they affect us, we can reduce the impact they have on our young people and reduce underage and binge drinking. So please consider joining us for the Big Bowl Vote on Monday, February 4, immediately after the Super Bowl.

The process is simple:

  1. Sign up for emails about the Big Bowl Vote.
  2. Download the 2020 BBV Playbook.
  3. Watch Super Bowl LIII on Sunday, February 2.
  4. Administer the Big Bowl Vote survey on Monday, February 3. (To be released)
  5. Send us your results by the end of Tuesday, February 4.