260126 Alcohol marketing in digital and social media: Results and implications of a brand scan

Wednesday, October 31, 2012 : 10:30 AM - 10:50 AM

David H. Jernigan, PhD , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Kalyan Kanakamedala, BA , Bloomberg School of Public Health, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, MD
Issues: Multiple longitudinal studies have linked increased youth exposure to alcohol advertising to greater likelihood of drinking initiation and increased alcohol consumption. Growing expenditures on display internet advertising are indicative of the pace at which alcohol marketers are moving from traditional “measured” media to digital and social media.

Description: Based on survey results, we selected ten alcohol brands popular among youth, and conducted a scan of those brands' activity across four leading digital media platforms.

Lessons Learned: Using social media platforms, alcohol companies have generated millions of followers, are hosting tens of thousands of user- and brand-generated images and videos, are frequently violating their codes of good marketing practices, and are subjecting themselves to little or no age-gating to guard from exposing young people to their marketing activities in these media. Best practices for protecting youth from exposure exist among the companies, but even these are relatively weak, and use of them is far from universal.

Recommendations: At a minimum, alcohol companies should observe the best practices of their peers, and learn from the experience of tobacco companies that, under close scrutiny from state attorneys general, have developed more effective forms of age verification without unduly impinging on personal privacy. The Federal Trade Commission should subject alcohol industry practices in these media to much closer scrutiny, and encourage implementation of its 1999 recommendation that the industry develop “no-buy” lists of media and channels where high levels of youth exposure are likely to occur.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Identify and assess examples of alcohol industry marketing in digital media popular among young people 2. Evaluate existing efforts to protect young people from exposure to alcohol marketing in digital media 3. Describe steps that could be taken by the alcohol industry, digital and social media providers, and the federal government to reduce the likelihood of youth exposure to alcohol marketing in these media

Keywords: Alcohol, Marketing

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Director of the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, where I have pioneered in the systematic monitoring of youth exposure to alcohol advertising, and have played a key role in efforts to change public policies to reduce that exposure.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.