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Nearly half of energy drink ads aimed at teens

Dartmouth researchers find that 46.5 percent of TV ads for energy drinks are aimed at teenagers.

Times were so much simpler when all parents had to worry about was their kids having a Coke and a smile. Today teenagers chug drinks with far more caffeine and sugar. A new study looked at how much energy drink companies target teens with TV advertising. Researchers found that nearly half of all energy drinks TV commercials are aimed at teens.

Back in 2013, when the American Medical Association and the U.S. Senate Commerce Committee announced their support of banning the marketing of energy drinks to adolescents because of potential health effects from high caffeine consumption, little quantitative research existed about the practice of advertising the drinks on TV, according to a story about the new research on So, Dartmouth University designed and launched a study.

The researchers examined a database of television ads broadcast between March 2012 and February 2013 on 139 network and cable channels. They found they aired more than 608 hours of advertisements for energy drinks. Nearly half those commercials, 46.5 percent of them, appeared on networks with content themes aimed at adolescents.

“Although our results do not support the idea that manufacturers intentionally target adolescents with their advertising, ads for energy drink were primarily aired on channels with themes likely to appeal to adolescents, and adolescents are likely exposed to energy drink advertising via television,” lead research Jennifer A. Emond, PhD, Department of Community and Family Medicine, Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth told

Of course, the teens may not remember all those energy drink commercials if they regularly chug the stuff. New research suggests that daily consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks may impact memory and learning in adolescents.


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