Acceptable Ads? This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.


   I have never been big on watching sports on TV, butlast year I was forced to sit through an entire Green Bay Packers game with myfather. Every few minutes the game was interrupted for yet another commercialbreak, and nearly every ad seemed to be for one brand of beer or another. Thetelevision blared at me while my glazed-over eyes stared at a woman standing on asnowy mountain peak wearing nothing but a bikini and a smile as she hung her armsaround some guy gulping down a beer.

Typically, football games (and mostother televised sporting events) are fully stocked with alcohol advertisements.Tobacco companies were forced to take their ads off the air years ago because toomany young people were picking up the habit, but beer companies are free toadvertise most anyplace they please. I've never understood why this is so, but Itruly believe it is only constitutional to say that if one drug (yes, drug) isnot allowed in the world of televised advertisements, then none should be.

Smoking tops my list of pet peeves. Not only is it harmful to the smoker,but smoking around others is dangerous and rude. When the latest anti-cigaretteads hit national television, I was very happy. Rather than having 40-year-oldswag their finger at America's youth exclaiming "Don't! Don't! Don't!"someone came up with the idea of using "cool" kids to explain why theyshouldn't smoke. Surely this campaign will be more effective than previous ones.

The one thing missing from the "Think, Don't Smoke" campaign isthe follow-up "Think, Don't Drink." Am I the only one who's noticedthat "think" and "drink" rhyme and make a really cleveranti-alcohol slogan?

Both tobacco (in any form) and alcohol are proven tohave horrible long-term effects - cancer, heart problems, brain damage and others- but the short-term effects of too much alcohol are much more drastic than thoseof tobacco. I'd much rather be in a car with someone who just smoked an entirecarton of cigarettes than someone who's had a few drinks too many. Every day,newspapers across America have headlines that read, "Two Die inAlcohol-Related Car Crash" and "Teen Killed by Drunk Driver," yetsomehow alcohol companies continue to advertise as much as they like.

A few years ago, Camel was forced to dump its mascot Joe Camel when studiesproved that young children recognized the figure much too easily. Some peoplebelieve Joe Camel conveyed subliminal messages and that children familiar withhim were more likely to start smoking in their teens.

I felt no sympathyover the death of Joe Camel, but it seems rather funny that cigarette companiesare shunned for trying to nab young customers while it is perfectly acceptablefor children to take home a giant stuffed Red Dog from a carnival or receive aCaptain Morgan key chain from a clown in a parade, as I have.

Alcoholcompanies are just as guilty as tobacco manufactures targeting teenagers withtheir ads. Don't be fooled into thinking that alcohol ads portraying wildparties, beautiful people, rock music, snowboarders and fast vehicles are anattempt to grab 50-year-old couch potatoes. Usually adults have decided whetheror not they want to drink. These television commercials are trying to reach ayounger generation.

I despise television advertisements for any harmfulsubstance, and am certainly glad to see so much action has been taken to reducecigarette use among teens. There are anti-drinking promotions out there, just notenough. The best way to spread the harsh truths about alcohol is to abolishtelevision advertisement of alcohol and obvious attempts to lure underage personsinto the brutal world of alcohol - just as we did with tobacco.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.






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