Thursday, March 05, 2009

Boozing in Films Influences Viewers’ Drinking

I suppose now we'll see a surge in product placement by beer companies, in TV shows and movies.

By Naomi Kresge

March 4 (Bloomberg) -- Watching fictional characters drink alcohol may trigger an immediate desire to do the same, Dutch researchers said after observing college men raid a refrigerator full of free beer while viewing “American Pie 2.”

The students downed an average of one and a half more drinks during an hour-long excerpt from the U.S. beach movie -- with two commercial breaks featuring alcohol -- than during the Josh Hartnett romantic comedy “40 Days and 40 Nights,” the researchers said in a study published online today in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism.

While other studies have shown a correlation between media exposure to drinking and behavior, the Dutch researchers said theirs was the first controlled experiment on whether alcohol seen on TV leaves viewers reaching for a drink.

“This might imply, for example, while watching an ad for a particular brand of beer, you are not only more prone to buy that brand next time you are in the supermarket, but also that you might go immediately to the fridge to take a beer,” said Rutger Engels, a developmental psychopathology professor at Radboud University Nijmegen, in a statement.

The results indicate that reducing the availability of alcohol in certain settings, such as a theater showing movies and commercials featuring liquor, would help lower consumption, the authors wrote.

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