SOURCE: The Advertising Council

August 10, 2005 08:00 ET

MADD and Ad Council Reach Hispanic Parents With New PSA Campaign Aimed at Preventing Underage Drinking

Campaign Emphasizes That Alcohol Use Contributes to the Three Leading Causes of Death Among Hispanic 12-20 Year Olds

NEW YORK, NY and DALLAS, TX -- (MARKET WIRE) -- August 10, 2005 -- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in partnership with The Advertising Council, announced today the launch of a new national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to increase awareness among Hispanic parents and caregivers about the consequences of underage drinking. The campaign informs parents of their critical role in shaping their child's perception of alcohol, and seeks to motivate them to talk to their children about underage drinking. The multi-media campaign includes English and Spanish-language advertising, which is being distributed nationwide this week.

MADD's new campaign was developed to begin a dialogue between Hispanic parents and caregivers and their underage children about the dangers of underage drinking. Underage drinking is a serious problem in America resulting in more than 6,000 deaths annually, according to the National Academy of Sciences.

The campaign includes television, radio, and Internet public service advertising, and parent resources including a free brochure containing the necessary tools to help them talk to their children about underage drinking. To view the PSAs and to obtain the resources, visit www.portuhijo.org or www.foryourchild.org, or call 1-877-POR-TU-HIJO (1-877-767-8844).

"MADD supports Latino parents in their quest to keep their children alcohol-free to ensure their health and safety," said Sammy Quintana, former MADD national board member. "Underage drinking is illegal in all 50 states and for good reason. It has the potential to harm a child's future. Latino parents who take so much pride in building a bright future for their children are encouraged to take a stand against underage drinking because it can lead to dangerous consequences. This campaign addresses that message in a memorable way."

Alcohol use contributes to the three leading causes of death among Hispanic 12 to 20 year olds (CDC, 2002) and people who begin drinking before age 15 are five times more likely to develop alcohol dependence at sometime in their lives compared with those who began drinking at age 21. (SAMSHA, 2004)

Peggy Conlon, president & CEO of The Advertising Council, said, "Underage drinking is a serious problem in our country, including within the Hispanic community. Parents need to talk to their children about drinking and set clear boundaries before it is too late. We are proud to partner with MADD to develop PSAs that can help prevent so many senseless tragedies and improve the health of our country. I believe that the media will generously support this critical campaign."

Research on underage drinking prevention often shows that there is a limited window of opportunity for parents to talk to their kids about drinking because youth develop their behaviors early and, as they grow older, become less influenced by their parents and more influenced by their peers. According to research conducted for the development of the campaign, Hispanic parents generally underestimate the extent of alcohol used by youth and its negative consequences.

Campaign materials and messages encourage Latino parents to begin the conversation about alcohol with their children at a young age, ideally before their child is exposed. A "For your Child" brochure available at the campaign website provides practical tips and information for parents to help jump start these important conversations. Research shows that the relationships and level of involvement that parents have with their children affects their children's likelihood of using alcohol underage. (Spoth, et al, 1999; Resnick, et al, 1998)

Historically, outreach for underage drinking prevention has focused primarily on targeting teens. Research shows that teens are far more likely to delay drinking when they feel they have a close, supportive tie with a parent or guardian.

Professor of Boston University School of Public Health, Center to Prevent Alcohol Problems Among Young People, Ralph W. Hingson, Sc.D., M.P.H., said, "The younger people are when they begin to drink the more likely they will be unintentionally injured, be in a motor vehicle crash and be in a physical fight after drinking both as adolescents and as adults. This is important because injuries are the leading cause of death among young people ages 1 to 34." Alcohol is a leading contributor to more than 40,000 injury deaths annually in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control. Each year nearly 17,000 people die in alcohol-related traffic crashes and about 2,300 of those are ages 15 to 20 years old.

Per the Ad Council model, the PSAs will be distributed to the top 60 U.S. Hispanic media markets nationwide and will run and air in advertising time and space that is donated by the media. Additional billboard PSAs will be available this fall.

Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)

MADD is the premiere organization working to stop drunk driving, support the victims of this violent crime and prevent underage drinking. MADD is a 501(c)(3) charity with approximately 600 affiliates and 2 million members and supporters nationwide. Now celebrating its 25th anniversary, MADD has helped save more than 300,000 lives since its founding in 1980. For more information in English and Spanish, visit www.madd.org.

The Advertising Council

The Ad Council is a private, non-profit organization with a rich history of marshalling volunteer talent from the advertising and media industries to deliver critical messages to the American public. Having produced literally thousands of PSA campaigns addressing the most pressing social issues of the day, the Ad Council has effected, and continues to effect, tremendous positive change by raising awareness, inspiring action and saving lives. To learn more about the Ad Council and its campaigns, visit www.adcouncil.org.

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