ALBUQUERQUE, NM - January 25 -- A non-profit group seeking to improve the nation's media is asking teachers and teen-agers to do a little homework during the Super Bowl in a bid to demonstrate the impact on minors of $5.7 billion in annual liquor-industry advertising.
"With millions of American children watching, the Super Bowl is the single most important media venue for the beer industry," says Bob McCannon, a co-founder of the independent New Mexico-based Action Coalition for Media Education (ACME). "Our 'Tackling the Beer Barons' curriculum helps teens think about how beer companies try and shape their consumption behavior."
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Teachers and students can go to the www.acmecoalition.org website and download the free classroom materials and worksheets. With them, teens are ask to carefully view beer ads during the Feb. 6 game, and write down which elements are appealing and persuasive. The next day, dubbed, "Media Literacy Monday" by ACME, classes will discuss their reactions and findings.
"Media Literacy Monday" includes background information, charts, follow-up questions and answers -- all the tools necessary to turn the big game into a provocative media-literacy experience.
"If students don't receive this information, not only do they know less about the world's most powerful medium -- TV ads, but we allow the beer companies to have a near-monopoly on the socialization of our children," says Rob Williams, a Burlington, Vt., college professor who is ACME's president.
A single, 30-second beer ad during the Super Bowl will cost $2.4 million, according to University of New Mexico Medical School pediatrician Victor Strasburger, an ACME advisor and expert on adolescent drugs, alcohol and the media. "Every year, the alcohol industry spends $5.7 billion to get kids to 'just say yes' to drinking, using sophomoric, misogynistic humor, cute animals -- whatever works. Its a form of electronic child abuse," he says.
ACME is a member-supported, independent, nonprofit organization based in Albuquerque, N.M. Its a network of educators, health professionals, journalists and other citizens using curriculum aides, conferences and events which help citizen and consumers to pay closer attention to the real purpose and impact of news and advertising messages.