Social media alcohol advertising among underage minors: effects of models’ age

Saleem Alhabash, Juan Mundel, Tao Deng, Anna McAlister, Elizabeth Taylor Quilliam, Jef I. Richards, Kristen Lynch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Despite U.S. alcohol industry self-regulatory guidelines prohibiting the use of models under the age 25 in alcohol advertising, brands include younger-looking models in their ads. Using social cognitive theory and the limited capacity model of mediated motivated message processing (LC4MP), we investigated the effects of alcohol ads featuring younger- and older-looking models on underage youths’ affective and cognitive processing and behavioral outcomes. Study 1 participants viewed YouTube ads where models looked either younger or older than 25. In addition to measuring advertising effectiveness self-report measure (e.g. attitudes, and behavioral intentions), participants’ psychophysiological responses were recorded. Study 2 used Instagram ads and measured outcomes with a nationally representative participant sample. Both studies show that younger-looking models in alcohol ads increase drinking intentions. Findings are discussed in relation to alcohol regulatory and policy recommendations as well as advertising’s role in hindering consumer well being.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)552-581
Number of pages30
JournalInternational Journal of Advertising
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • LC4MP
  • Psychophysiology
  • alcohol use
  • model age
  • social cognitive theory
  • social media

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Communication
  • Marketing


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