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exposure, but at a lower rate. (By contrast, the advertisement rate ratio for beer advertising was only 1.0 for every additional million young adult readers, as compared with 1.6 for every additional million adolescent readers.) It is possible that a marketing strategy aiming for young adults could identify magazines with high young adult exposure but small youth readership. Indeed, although the numbers are small, Garfield et al. (2003) found that the wine advertisers were able to increase young adult exposure (advertisement rate ratio = 3.0) without increasing youth exposure (advertisement rate ratio = 0.72), and they also report that their findings regarding increased exposure of youth and young adults were statistically independent. In the overall policy context, however, the underlying problem remains—in order to avoid youth exposure, liquor advertisers might have to avoid placements in the magazines with the most promising young adult readership.

Setting a 25 percent threshold would be a useful improvement in the current industry practice, as a demonstration of good faith in the effort to find a formula that reasonably accommodates the industry’s interest in communicating with its young adult consumers and the public’s interest in minimizing underage exposure. According to CAMY, nearly 30 percent of alcohol advertising dollars spent in a sample of 98 magazines were spent in magazines with at least 25 percent adolescent readers. More than half of the money was spent in magazines whose adolescent and young adult (1220) audience exceeded their proportion in the U.S. population (CAMY, 2002a). Based on these data, adoption of a 25 percent threshold, would reflect a meaningful commitment to alter otherwise lawful magazine advertising practices to reduce youth exposure to alcohol advertising.9 As with television advertising, however, the industry should consider eventually moving toward a 15 percent threshold to further reduce the number of youth who are exposed to advertising intended for adults.

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As noted above, under some circumstances, the likelihood that a particular message will appeal to a youthful audience may be so great that the company will be said to have “intended” to target an underage audience


The absolute size of the youth readership is obviously relevant for magazines, just as it is for television advertising. However, coupling a threshold for audience proportion with a ceiling on youth readership would selectively apply different rules to the largest circulation magazines with young adult audiences, and would have the effect of precluding alcohol advertising in these magazines altogether. Standing alone (rather than as part of a more complicated formula), a ceiling on youth readership does not appear to be a feasible solution.

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