Authors: Carah Nicholas & Brodmerkel Sven

Title: Alcohol marketing in the era of digital media

Journal: Journal of studies on alcohol drugs, 82, 18-27, 2021.


Objective: Digital media platforms like Facebook and Instagram play a significant role in the marketing of alcohol, connecting producers and consumers in novel ways. Alcohol marketers have proven to be innovative experimenters with the participatory and data processing power of these platforms. The aim of this article is (a) to scope how digital advertising and media are typically understood and operationalized in the public health literature and (b) to develop a conceptual framework for investigating alcohol marketing on platforms by identifying new and specific platform affordances that should inform further research in this area.

Method: This article is a conceptual review drawing on research on digital alcohol marketing in the public health literature, conceptualizations of digital platforms in media and communication literature, and instructive examples from industry sources.

Results: The article identifies five key challenges alcohol marketing on digital platforms poses to regulatory and self-regulatory frameworks, which so far have not been sufficiently considered in the public health literature.

Conclusions: The review suggests that in addition to assessing the content, volume, and placement of alcohol advertising, research and regulatory responses need to address alcohol marketing on digital platforms as a dynamic, participatory, and data-driven process. (J. Stud. Alcohol Drugs, 82, 18–27, 2021).

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