THURSDAY, Oct. 20, 2005 (HealthDay News) -- Television beer ads featuring cute animals appeal to school kids and make them want to buy the brand of beer being advertised, says a study in the current issue of the Journal of Health Communication.
Researchers at the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation's Prevention Research Center in California showed 66 TV beer ads to 253 kids whose ages ranged from 10 to 17. The kids rated ads with animal characters as their favorites and ads that focused on products or showed adults as their least favorite.
Specifically, the study found that 35 percent of the kids agreed that a Budweiser beer ad featuring a rock star ferret replacing talking lizards as the official beer mascot made them want to buy Budweiser.
In contrast, only 5 percent said an Anheuser Busch beer ad focusing on a "Legacy of Quality" made them want to buy the beer.
Of the 66 beers ads shown to the children, only five did not have elements -- humor, music, people characters, animal characters and story -- that appealed to kids.
The researchers say their findings reinforce research that shows that alcohol advertising influences young people by creating positive opinions about alcohol, stronger intentions to use alcohol and more alcohol consumption.
"This study provides further proof that alcohol advertising influences children who are years away from being able to drink legally. Alcohol advertisers should do a better job of avoiding exposing underage youth to beer advertising -- particularly the kinds of ads with cute animals, humorous story lines and other features that kids find appealing," study author Meng-Jinn Chen said in a prepared statement.
The Nemours Foundation has more about kids and alcohol.