Songs, television shows, movies, or social media are all just a few of the things that have simply glorified alcohol. The depiction of alcohol in pop culture can seem harmless, however, on the contrary, it encourages dangerous drinking habits. Believe it or not, pop culture has a large influence over individuals’ behaviors and decisions making. Especially in adolescence.
People are more likely to be influenced by the behaviors they are exposed to and personal experiences. This includes things they witness on television, scrolling through social media, or painted on the cover of a magazine while in line at the grocery store. Alcohol brands use this to their advantage and advertise their products on these platforms. The question is, how is this affecting excessive alcohol consumption or addiction? Especially in younger audiences.
Alcohol In Music
The Billboard Magazine year-end charts from 2009-2011 showed that out of 720 of the most popular song in four different genres, 23% mentioned alcohol and 6.4% included an alcohol brand mention. Rap, hip-hop, and R&B account for 37.7% of the songs that mentioned alcohol. These songs included references to tequila, vodka, cognac, and champagne. Where country music and pop typically sang about whiskey and beer. The question remains, does this influence the audience listening?
Mental health professionals, substance abuse experts, and consumers alike all agree that glorifying alcohol through music is a big problem. We are constantly influenced by what we are exposed to, and music is no exception. Alcohol consumption and glorification are extremely common themes in the music industry and are presented in a positive light. Thus, promoting and supporting listeners to consume alcohol in excessive amounts, is not only dangerous but can turn deadly.
Music And Underage Drinking
Teenagers and young adults are more susceptible to the influences of pop culture like alcohol in music. Parents are growing more concerned about the constant exposure to alcohol and the frequent use by their favorite artists. Although there are restrictions parents can place on explicit music content, there are many different ways to access music online and bypass these restrictions.
Underage drinking has become a significant concern and is far too common in this day and age. Drinking during adolescence is very dangerous because it can not only form early on addictions but stunt the growth of a developing brain. Thus, causing permanent damage.
Alcohol In Television
Within the past decade, it has grown more difficult to find a show on television that doesn’t involve alcohol consumption. Whether in shows or advertisements, alcohol brands use these platforms to reach a vast amount of potential consumers. Although there are policies set in place to prevent alcohol brands from having actors consuming alcohol during a commercial, there are loopholes.
Rather than focussing solely on commercial advertising, now companies are advertising directly within a television show. Series like How I Met Your Mother and Shameless, often depict the characters consuming large amounts of alcohol, including the main character. Thus, exposing viewers to the normalization of excessive, and frequent, alcohol consumption.
Television And Underage Drinking
Teenagers and young adults are heavy consumers of television. This means they are more susceptible to constant alcohol exposure on the tv. A study by National Center for Biotechnology Information states, in a study between 1998-1999 of prime time television shows, 71% of all programming depicted alcohol use. Additionally, 53% of these shows were popular among teenagers. These scary statistics create a larger chance of these tv shows influencing underage drinking and binge drinking.
Alcohol In Movies
Alcohol and alcohol brand placement has been a part of the big screens for years. However, it seems to increase each year. This includes child-rated movies, and one study states that in the past two decades, alcohol marketing within movies has almost doubled. Although other companies like coca-cola have found this method successful, experts are concerned about the unhealthy drinking habits it may be influencing.
Research shows that in the 100 top-grossing movies in the years 1996-2015, alcohol brand placement increased 5% annually and 92% overall. Moreover, general alcohol consumption was shown in 87% of all movies, 85% of these movies were rated G or PG.
Following these findings, it was shown that the brands most frequently shown on the big screen were the beverages favored among those drinking underage.
Alcohol In Social Media
Social media is a huge platform that not only promotes alcohol consumption but has hundreds of thousands of underage users. Social media marketing has become extremely popular in the last few years, which makes it a perfect place to advertise alcohol brands. Teens and young adults look up to these big influencers that share their life on their social media. This includes their crazy party habits and excessive binge drinking. Making it look fancy and extravagant, and making viewers envy this lifestyle.
Social media makes it very easy to interact with their followers. Offering giveaways, brand deals, and building relationships with their consumers. Restaurants promote drinking specials to entice people to come in and consume alcohol at a cheaper price. Companies, like many “hard” seltzer companies, will pay influencers to promote their products. Thus, enticing their followers to want to try.
Many believe companies that use this type of marketing strategy are praying on a young audience. Teens and young adults are the individuals watching those influencers. The proof however is in the pudding when it comes to social media and the influence it has on adolescents. For example, the amount of far fetch challenges that have gone viral is unprecedented.
Get Help with Alcohol Addiction
If you have fallen victim to the influence of alcohol in pop culture and need help, contact the Harm Reduction Center. HARC is a private health care facility in Boynton Beach, Florida that offers all levels of outpatient programs and aftercare. We understand how difficult it can be to remain sober in a world where substances are all around, but we are here to walk you through every step. Contact us today!