SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Feb. 5, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Five young people ages 10 to 20 were awarded prizes this past Thursday night for their entertaining counter-beer ads at Free The Bowl™ World Premiere 2011 in San Rafael, California. The national competition drew 63 entries from 10 different states and all shared the same core message: seductive alcohol ads shown during TV sporting events, and especially during the Super Bowl, are inappropriate for millions of vulnerable young viewers who watch the event.
"In this year's contest we asked young people to add performance elements to their counter-beer-ads" stated Michael Scippa, Free The Bowl™ contest director and Marin Institute public affairs director. "What they produced just blew us away with an amazing display of talent, creativity, and a deep understanding of how youth are exploited by Big Alcohol advertising."
Oscar Chan, 20, from San Francisco, CA said, "I entered the contest to say that the way ads are made today negatively affect our society and we have to fight against this." Oscar's winning entry titled Wherever I Go is also the title of the original rap song sung in his video by a young San Francisco singer/writer Jerusalem Reissig, and is infused with an infectious beat and lyrics like "…Just cuz you drink, doesn't mean it ain't a drug, It ain't all about popping bottles in the club."
Research has shown that the more alcohol ads kids see, the more likely they are to drink, drink to excess, and drink more often. In 2009, the Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking reported that 5,000 people under the age of 21 die annually from injuries caused by alcohol. Hundreds of thousands more suffer alcohol-fueled sexual assaults, serious injuries, diseases, and academic failure.
"I'm personally not a big fan of the Super Bowl, but I sure do believe that alcohol ads attract a lot of teens," stated Rami Al-odaini, 1st place winner with his video Ads For Kids. "What I am saying is that we need to look into our society and see where we stand today. The facts are clear, these ads play a big role in what's happening with underage drinking, and we need to take a step just like we did with tobacco ads."
A recent analysis released by the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, shows that voluntary industry advertising codes are ineffective. According to the study, youth exposure to alcohol advertising on U.S. television increased 71 percent between 2001 and 2009. The research also pointed to Bud Light, a mainstay of TV sports event advertising, as one of 12 brands targeting youth.
"I watched my older brother deal with all the peer pressures of drinking in high school," stated, Lewie Kloster, 16, from Minneapolis, MN. "Luckily, he made good choices. But then I realized how the same influences could affect my little brother, Noah who loves football and is very influenced by anything to do with football."
Lewie's 3rd place-winning video is titled Noah Knows the Score. "I was shocked by the statistics about beer commercial influence on kids." He added, "I asked myself why does Noah have to watch HIS game and watch alcohol and beer ads too? I know he will have lots of peer pressure in high school about drinking, he doesn't need this influence too."
Big Alcohol (global beer, wine, and spirits corporations) will place 2 million alcohol ads on TV this year. Foreign-based alcohol corporations will spend half a billion dollars advertising during TV sports programs alone. As usual, Anheuser-Busch InBev will dominate the Super Bowl with approximately four solid minutes of airtime. It has been estimated that 30 million underage football fans will be watching.
"What inspired me to make this video was that so many are affected by all sorts of alcohol-related harm and all it does is tear family and friends apart," said Thong Lor, 14, from Westville, OK, whose video No Beer won a third place prize. "Alcohol does not come with a time machine to turn things back," he added. "Hopefully my video will send a message to those in need of guidance to turn your cheek against alcohol and not promote beer."
"The Free The Bowl™ Contest stands out to me as unique," stated Jasper Lown, 14, from Wheaton, IL. "It rewards young filmmakers for exercising their creative talents, while having the opportunity to spread a positive message to others of their age group." Jasper's original ballad Token of Lies took second place in the contest. "I strongly believe that advertisements targeting such a vulnerable market ought to be pulled off the air," he added.
Winners of the Free the Bowl™ 2011 video contest for youth are:
First Prize – Rami Al-odaini, 17, San Rafael, CA, for "Ads For Kids"
Second Prize – Jasper Lown, 14, Wheaton, IL for "Token Of Lies"
Third Prize – Oscar Chan, 20, San Francisco, CA for "Wherever I Go"
Third Prize – Thong Lor, 14, Westville, OK, for "No Beer"
Third Prize – Lewis Kloster, 16, Minneapolis, MN for "Noah Knows The Score"
Michael Scippa 415 548-0492
Jorge Castillo 213 840-3336
SOURCE Marin Institute