Emeka W. Dumbil; International Journal of Drug Policy 127 (2024) 104384


Introduction: The global alcohol industry sponsors social/music events targeting young people; however, existing literature focuses on Westernised contexts. Given the decline in young people’s drinking in many Western countries, it appears that multinational alcohol companies are importing the strategies they have used in high- income countries to the Global South countries like Nigeria to recoup profits. This study aims to examine the Guinness Show- a free one-month annual music festival, alcohol marketing at the festival and the extent to which the event encourages diverse drinking practices among its attendees.

Methods: We observed the music festival before collecting data through 53 interviews and 3 focus groups (N =26). Data were analysed to generate themes with the aid of NVivo 12 software.
Findings: Over 6000 participants attend the Guinness Show daily, and participants gave detailed descriptions of the music festival, alcohol marketing activities that occur in it and the drinking practices of attendees, indicating that they were highly knowledgeable of the event. The Guinness Show attracts famous music artistes and other entertainers. Therefore, young people attend to see them perform free of charge. However, diverse alcohol promotions (e.g., quantity deals, low prices, giveaways) that happen daily, the strategic use of young women as ‘beer promoters’, and the pleasure the event induces by fusing music/entertainment into alcogenic environments, encourage drinking and drunkenness. All the attendees drank alcohol, and some engaged in impulse buying, while many consumed excessively due to promotions (e.g., buy-two-get-one free), which facilitated intoxication and the loss of control.

Conclusions: Guinness Nigeria organises the event for strategic brand communication, generating brand capital, and encouraging alcohol purchases and consumption among young people. Policymakers should reconsider self-regulation and implement national alcohol control policies and other public health interventions to restrain the alcohol industry from sponsoring such events.

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