ATTITUDE OF UNDERGRADUATES TO THE 18+ WARNING SIGN IN ALCOHOLIC BEVERAGE ADVERTISEMENTS IN SELECTED UNIVERSITIES IN SOUTH-WEST, NIGERIA
Advertising has been identified as one of the factors that increase the likelihood of alcoholic beverage consumption especially among the youth (Alcohol Concern, 2013). Through the use of advertising execution techniques such as humour, celebrity endorsement and music, advertisers are able to embed images that resonate with vulnerable youths. In spite of the documented social and health repercussions of alcohol consumption and little knowledge of warning sign among adults, literature still show that the relationship between advertising warning signs and alcohol consumption is an understudied area. The study examined the attitude of Nigerian university undergraduates to the 18+ warning sign in alcoholic beverage advertisements.
The study adopted the survey research design. The target population of the study was 195,000 undergraduates from nine selected universities in South-West, Nigeria. Multi-stage sampling technique was used in the selection process. Purposive sampling was used to select three states (Lagos, Ogun and Oyo), based on concentration of universities in the states. The universities in the selected states were stratified into Federal, State and Private. Three universities were purposively selected from each state (one from each stratum). Gay, Geoffrey and Peter’s formula was adopted to draw the sample size of 1,950 respondents who were proportionately distributed to the nine selected universities. A validated questionnaire was used as the instrument. The Cronbach’s Alpha coefficients for the constructs ranged from 0.735 to 0.945.Response rate was 95.7%. Data were analyzed using correlation and regression analyses.
The findings revealed that there was significant relationship between students’ awareness of the 18+ warning sign and their attitudes towards consumption (r=0.242; p<0.05). There was significant positive relationship between students’ recognition of the 18+ warning sign and attitudes towards consumption (r=0.485; p<0.05). There was also a significant positive relationship between students’ perception of the credibility of the 18+ warning sign and attitudes towards consumption (r=0.664; p<0.05). It was found that the 18+ sign significantly influenced attitudes of the underage towards consumption (R2=0.494; p<0.05). Demographic variables significantly influenced the attitudes of undergraduates towards the 18+ warning sign (R2=0.017; p<0.05).
The study concluded that the 18+ warning sign in alcoholic beverage advertisements discouraged undergraduates’ consumption of alcoholic beverages. The study recommended that advertisers, as sponsors of the promotional messages that promote alcohol consumption, should intensify the use of the 18+ warning sign and other warning labels for the purpose of being socially responsible. Also advertising relevant agencies in line with existing regulations should intensify efforts at monitoring the content of advertisements to ensure compliance with set standards.
Keywords: Alcohol advertising, Awareness, Perception, Alcohol consumption, Alcoholic beverage