Purves, R. (2014). “What are you meant to do when you see it everywhere?” Young people, alcohol packaging and digital media. 10.13140/2.1.5041.6966
Background and aims
The consumption of alcohol plays an important part in the way in which people create desired identities and live their social lives. Through marketing practices, alcohol brands have become embedded in everyday life and this is amplified by the increase in new technologies which facilitate the transference of marketing messages. This research has sought to explore how alcohol brands use social networking sites (SNS) and packaging as part of their repertoire of marketing activities, and how users respond to these activities.
This study has not sought to examine the impact of marketing on behaviour; for this, different designs of study and much larger scale studies are required (see Pinsky et al., 2010; Gordon and Harris, 2009). Instead, it has sought to explore how brands use social networking sites and packaging as part of their repertoire of activities, and how users respond to these activities. Much marketing activity is directed not towards producing direct effects on consumers but towards creating and reinforcing powerful brands. In order to understand marketing, we need not only to examine evidence of direct effects – increased sales or consumption – but also to explore how marketing works: how marketing activities contribute to the creation and reinforcement of desired brand values. In other words, are the messages communicated by the brand consistent with the desired brand position? Are the associations created in consumers’ minds the desired associations? Are consumers’ responses to the brand in line with the emotions the brand wishes to evoke?