Beer Commercials Among Favorite Super Bowl Ads for Teens

    During last weekend’s Super Bowl game, it wasn’t just the game that left a lasting impression on teens. The beer commercials were also a big hit. That’s according to a survey conducted by a coalition in Columbus, Ohio, that found that beer ads were among teens’ top five favorite Super Bowl ads.

    The Drug-Free Action Alliance surveyed more than 8,400 youth in middle and high school to see which ads resonated the most with teens. The top two ads were for Doritos followed by three ads for Anheuser-Busch alcohol products. The beer ads featuring the famous Clydesdale Horses and the one titled “The Meeting” were voted as the favorite ad claiming the next three spots.

    “We wanted to see what commercials the kids were remembering. Not surprisingly, the ones for alcohol were among the top five,” explained Brad Reynolds, Communications Director for the Drug-Free Action Alliance.

    According to Nielsen Media Research, 98.7 million people tuned in to Super Bowl XLIII this past Sunday, with a large proportion of viewers under age 21. This survey comes after a recent report from media watchdog group Common Sense Media found that ads featuring alcohol, sex and violence are ubiquitous during NFL games.

    The Drug-Free Action Alliance conducts this survey annually and the results have been similar for the past five years. Reynolds said the findings are concerning, considering that research shows that young people are influenced by ads, and the younger someone starts to drink, the more likely they are to develop an alcohol problem later in life.

    Research has shown the negative impact that alcohol marketing has on youth. A study published in Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine found that youth who saw more alcohol ads on average drank more than those who did not see the ads. It is noteworthy that for last year’s game, Anheuser-Busch is estimated to have spent nearly $20 million on commercials that aired during the Super Bowl according to the Center for Science in the Public Interest.

    “Scientific research shows the serious and damaging effects of alcohol on the developing brain of youth under the age of 21,” says Patricia Harmon, Executive Director of Drug-Free Action Alliance. “Teen alcohol consumption is unhealthy, unsafe and unacceptable. Additionally, the ads that aired this year added violence to the mix. Punching a koala bear and getting throw out of a window does not send good messages to our children.”

    The coalition hopes the findings will serve as a wake up call for parents. “The message we want to get across to parents is that they need to have a conversation with their kids about these commercials,” Reynolds said. “The commercials don’t show the devastating effects that alcoholism can have on families, so the commercials are an opportunity for parents to explain this to their teens.”

    To learn more about the Drug-Free Action Alliance, visit For more information about youth exposure to alcohol ads, visit the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth.

    By Partnership Staff
    February 2009


    February 2009