Pandemic Ads Target Youth

It's Not Just Advertising

Industries Target Underage Youth

Below are marketing strategies that directly impact youth. Some may surprise you.

Pandemic Marketing

The vaping industry is employing these new ‘pandemic strategies’ to target youth (Stanford Medicine):

  1. The “Keep Calm and Stay Home” campaign shows slick images of young people vaping at home to relieve pandemic stress.
  2. Contactless delivery and curbside pickup are offered with no age verification or signature required.
  3. To target homeless people in the 90s, the tobacco industry distributed blankets branded with their logos to shelters. Today, they distribute face masks and hand sanitizer.
    The published study is here.

Nearby Marijuana Dispensaries

A recent study showed that young people (18 – 22 years) living within 4 miles of a marijuana dispensary are more likely to use marijuana, use it more often and have a more positive view of marijuana. There is a stronger association when the dispensaries have signage.

Binge Watching & Teen Vaping

Exposure to tobacco images through TV shows can triple a young person’s odds of starting to vape (Truth Initiative).

  • 73% of the 15 most popular programs with 15-24 year olds feature characters who smoke or are associated with images of tobacco products.
  • Since last season, tobacco images doubled in TV-G & TV-PG shows, including Family Guy, Fuller House, The Simpsons and Walking Dead.
  • Images of tobacco in Stranger Things increased four times since the previous season.

Alcohol Ads Appeal to Youth

Alcohol advertisers know that youth are highly receptive to suggestions that drinking alcohol will help them make friends and fit in. They design ads that teens associate with positive attitudes, happiness, achievement and social success.
(Source: Prevention First)

Tip: Help your child to see ads for vaping, alcohol and marijuana as unrealistic by discussing the ways the industry takes advantage of their unique vulnerabilities.
See article below for more tips.