NEWS RELEASE January 31, 2007
Lt. Governor Owen urges
Super Bowl viewers
OLYMPIA -- With this Sunday’s match-up in Miami of the Indianapolis Colts v. the Chicago Bears in Super Bowl XLI, Lt. Gov. Brad Owen and the Washington State Coalition to Reduce Underage Drinking (RUaD) would like to give Washington residents one more reason to watch the big game: to be on the lookout for commercials that may influence kids to drink alcohol.
“We’re very interested in knowing which advertisements have the most appeal to minors,” said Owen. “We all know that teen drinking has tragic and often devastating results, and the industry has been told time and time again that their consumer messages should not be targeted toward this highly impressionable age group.”
In 2005 the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth studied 154,000 alcohol ads aired in each of the three largest media markets in Washington State. They concluded that 22 percent of the ads were more likely to be seen by youth ages 12 to 20 than by adults.
The lieutenant governor is urging parents and teens to complete an assessment tool during the game Sunday that was developed by RUaD, a 23-agency coalition charged with increasing public awareness about the harmful effects of underage drinking.
The tool – meant to be completed by both parents and youth - asks Super Bowl viewers to express their opinions on who they feel the commercials are targeting, to describe the commercial and then to rate it.
“We also hope that parents will take the time to have a conversation about the commercials in the context of helping their kids understand why alcohol can be so harmful when abused, especially by teens,” the lieutenant governor said.
According to federal reports, kids who drink before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol problems when they are adults. Numerous studies show that parents’ influence and actions are crucial to a child’s decision not to drink.
Owen noted that the alcohol industry spends millions of dollars during this “prime time” viewing to promote their products and reaches millions of viewers with their messages. Of the nine commercials promoting alcohol products aired during Super Bowl XL in 2006 (Seattle Seahawks v. Pittsburgh Steelers), six made the “top 10” ranking as listed by USA Today.
“Many of these commercials are designed to be cute and funny,” Owen said. “We are hoping that kids simply ignore these advertisements but we are certain that won’t happen. We are simply using this as yet one more opportunity to promote the notion of responsible advertising by the industry – and hopefully save some lives in the process.”
The assessment tool
is available on the Lt. Governor’s Web site at
http://www.ltgov.wa.gov. When complete, the document can be sent by
email by Feb. 16 to the Department of Social
and Health Services’ Division of Alcohol and Substance Abuse (DASA)
email@example.com or to P.O. Box 45330, Olympia WA 98504.
DASA will share the results with the RUaD
coalition and make them available
to the public.
For more information contact:
For media inquiries:
Office of the Lt. Governor: Brian Dirks (360) 786-7707 or
For general information: