Open Access Articles- Top Results for Alcohol advertising on college campuses

Alcohol advertising on college campuses

Many college campuses throughout the United States have some form of Alcohol advertising including flyers on bulletin boards to mini billboard signs on college buses. It is so prevalent on college campuses especially because college students are considered the “targeted marketing group,” meaning that college students are more likely to consume larger qualities of alcohol than any other age group which makes them the prime consumers of alcohol in the United States [2]. A lot of television shows that college students watch in dorms or on their laptops, such as Jersey Shore (TV series) or Skins (2011 TV series) from MTV, all advertise young adults engaging in alcohol consumption such as binge drinking or alcohol-related games like beer pong, and pre-gaming which is the act of drinking large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time before an event, party, or activity. College students pay attention to the characters on television shows and since it is so acceptable on television to be engaging in those behaviors related to alcohol, it also becomes acceptable for them to be behaving like what they see on television. Alcohol companies know that young adults especially college students are most likely to purchase alcohol beverages, so they intentionally place alcohol products on shows or give alcohol an "active role" on shows by having the characters actively drinking alcohol on the show. Alcohol advertising is everywhere on college campuses throughout the United States and it has continue to impact many students' behaviors relating to alcohol consumption each year.

Research and statistics

According to an economic research done by Henry Saffer, who is a PH.D researcher for the National Bureau of Economic Research, “Product personalities are designed to appeal to specific market segments. For example, in targeting young people, Coors beer is associated with an unspoiled wilderness, whereas Budweiser is associated with athletic success” (Saffer 174)[3]. By sending these messages to its audiences, beer companies make sure those students consume their specific brand of alcohol so that they can appear more athletic or whatever lifestyle the ads promise [3]. The more appealing the beer and alcohol companies make their advertisements, the more students will consume their particular brand of products on campus and also, most likely, for life.

A 2001study was done by the College Alcohol Study (CAS) of the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers of this study observed the alcohol advertisement of 119 colleges that participated. They sampled over 10,000 students and 830 on-campus sites and 1684 off-campus sites. The results of the study showed that alcohol advertising such as specials and promotions especially on weekends were available and prevalent. Nearly three quarters of the on campus grounds and about half of the grounds off campus had some type of beer advertising such as discount prices, coupons and even alcohol-related messages (e.g. health related messages). According to the CAS team, the frequent advertising of alcohol both on and off campuses is associated to increased alcohol consumption among college students such as binge drinking. “The lower average alcohol sale prices among on-premise establishments surrounding the college campus, the higher the college binge drinking rate” [2].

Another study was completed by CASA at Columbia University on drinking rates among college students and the findings were that from 1993 to 2005, the rate of binge drinking has rose 16 percent. Furthermore, 26 percent of college students kept drinking until they were drunk [1]. Alcohol companies spent over $1.2 billion on advertising and promotions and specials on college campuses across the United States in 1998 including special discounts, giveaways, print media, outdoor advertising, radio and television. Another two thirds of a billion was spent on other forms of advertising for alcohol such as sponsorships, coupons and mailings. Alcohol advertising increased 34% from 1987 to 1996. And since 1997, alcohol advertising has been increasing over college campuses from students wearing alcohol-related appeal such as Bud Light shirts to coupons for alcohol purchases to flyers on campus such as the dining halls and off campuses such as liquor stores [2]. Research from this study done by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on “The Marketing of Alcohol to College Students: The Role of Low Prices and Special Promotions,” has shown that there is a direct correlation between increased alcohol advertising on college campuses and increased alcohol consumption among college students. Furthermore, the researchers of this study concluded that the lower the price of alcohol on or near college campuses, the higher the drinking rates among the students especially binge drinking. “This is consistent with previous findings that alcohol consumption by young people (in this case, college students) is affected by price. In line with this are the findings that alcohol promotions, price specials, and large-volume discounts are associated with higher binge-drinking rates” <Huo, Wechsler, Greenberg, Lee Volume 25, Issue 3, Pages 204-211>. [2].

Alcohol and related events on campuses

Many universities hold events such as homecoming where Alumnus return to their campuses to visit and often there is a big football game during that weekend. Football games on college campuses often have a Tailgate party where students drink and socialize before the game on the lawns outside the stadiums. It is called tailgating because students would park their vehicles usually big trucks full of kegs or beers or alcoholic beverages and drink and drink. During events like those, alcohol beverages are very prevalent on the college campus. Many students choose to engage in activities like tailgating which sometimes can lead to binge drinking or overconsumption of alcohol. Likewise, it is very popular for college students to “pregame” before any sporting events besides football such as hockey or basketball. Pre-gaming is the act of consuming large amounts of alcoholic content within a short period of time before an event or activity or party. It is so common today on college campuses in the United States for students to drink alcoholic beverages before a sporting event that it almost becomes a necessary procedure for them to the point where it is as serious as brushing teeth in the morning before going to class. Sporting games are so big and important in our society today, and alcohol advertisers know this so they often advertise beer commercials during a sporting game. Just like it is normal for viewers to drink and eat while watching the Super Bowl during Thanksgiving, it is normal for students to binge drink before a big football or hockey or any sporting game. It has become a behavioral habit among many college students in the United States; consuming alcohol relating to sporting events or traditional events like homecoming has become a part of our norm. Concerts and other related shows or performances are very common in colleges and many students would drink heavily before attending these events. Any type of big and popular events on college campuses from Spring Concerts to Comedian acts to various shows and performances like Day Glow, the world's large paint party with music, there will be alcohol consumption among college students.


According to the research done by multiple studies, the more Alcohol advertising that is available on college campuses in the United States does have an effect on students’ consumption of alcohol; students were shown to have consumed more alcohol products including binge drinking when there were flyers, specials, promotions, coupons, giveaways, television, radio and other types of advertising on campuses.



[1]educational, offering, and off campus. more.... "College Binge Drinking | Young Adult Alcohol Abuse and Addiction." College Binge Drinking | Young Adult Alcohol Abuse and Addiction. (accessed October 20, 2011).

[2]Kuo, Meichun, Henry Wechsler, Patty Greenberg, and Hang Lee. "ScienceDirect - American Journal of Preventive Medicine : The marketing of alcohol to college students: The role of low prices and special promotions." ScienceDirect - Home. (accessed October 17, 2011).

[3]Saffer, Henry. "Alcohol Advertising and Youth." Research about Alcohol and College Drinking Prevention. (accessed October 17, 2011).

[4]Sundar, S. Shyam . "Media Effects Research Lab @ Penn State University." Advertising Effects on Alcohol Consumption Among College Students. (accessed October 19, 2011).