Ads for alcohol run during the Super Bowl overwhelmingly appealed to the millions of youth who watched them, according to a nonprofit watchdog report.
Prevention Action Alliance hosted the Big Bowl Vote, a nationwide survey of youth that finds which ads stuck out to them and which ones they liked. More than 1,100 students from 17 schools in 11 states participated in the Big Bowl Vote in the two days after the Super Bowl.
“Bud Light was as memorable as Pepsi to the young people who took part in the Big Bowl Vote,” said Marcie Seidel, executive director of PAA. “The silliness of those ads and the cartoonish Bud Knight draw in young people and make them like Bud Light.”
According to the Big Bowl Vote, almost half of the students who watched the Super Bowl remembered an Anheuser-Busch ad. Anheuser-Busch owns Budweiser, Bud Light, Bon & Viv Spiked Seltzer, Michelob Ultra, Stella Artois and other brands.
During the Super Bowl, Anheuser-Busch ran about 5 minutes and 45 seconds of ads promoting its products.
Ads for Bud Light were also the second-most-liked ads by youth, trailing Pepsi, according to Seidel. Youth cited the humor as the main reason they liked the Bud Light ads.
“Research has shown that when youth find an ad to be humorous, they’re more attracted to it. In turn, this makes them like the product more and makes them more likely to drink alcohol at an earlier age,” Seidel said, citing studies published in the Journal of Health Communication and Pediatrics. “Alcohol kills more people than any other drug, and ads like those run during the Super Bowl make the product appealing to a prohibited, underage audience.”
Statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that underage drinking kills more than 4,300 young people and causes more than 110,000 emergency room visits each year.
Seidel said limiting the exposure young people have to alcohol ads, advocating for ads that don’t target young people and teaching young people to be media literate have been shown to be effective at preventing underage drinking.
Alcohol ads that appealed to youth commonly used humor, celebrities, and music that young people like, according to the Big Bowl Vote.
About Prevention Action Alliance and the Big Bowl Vote
Prevention Action Alliance is a 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to leading healthy communities in the prevention of substance misuse and the promotion of mental health wellness.
The Big Bowl Vote is an annual survey from Prevention Action Alliance that collects information on the appeal of alcohol advertising to middle and high school students in order to raise awareness about the harm of alcohol advertisements to children. By providing a teachable moment for media literacy, the Big Bowl Vote encourages thoughtful analysis of how advertising influences young people.
“The Big Bowl Vote is a very important activity to help high school teens focus on the marketing and advertisement techniques that are used to engage our youth of today,” said Susan Frye, of the Link/Interact Club – Fremont Ross High School. “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 the teens to discuss how the Super Bowl commercials impact young lives today.”
More than 1,140 students in grades 5–12 were surveyed as part of the Big Bowl Vote. Participating schools and organizations were from Ohio, Maine, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, California, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Participating schools and organizations included, but are not limited to:
- Ontario Local Schools, of Ontario, Ohio.
- Oregon Middle School, of Oregon, Wisconsin.
- Link/Interact Club of Fremont Ross High School, of Fremont, Ohio.
- Crockett Middle School, of Hamilton Township in New Jersey.
- TC Commons Clubhouse, a program of CASA-Trinity in Elmira, New York.
- Wadena County Schools of Menahga, Sebeka, Verndale and Wadena-Deer Creek, of Minnesota.