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BizReport : Social Marketing : September 03, 2013

Researchers concerned alcohol brand Tweets reaching underage audience

Twitter is an efficient platform on which to promote products. However, researchers from an Australian University believe the social marketing of one product in particular should be far better regulated - alcohol.

by Helen Leggatt

During a six month period, Budweiser Tweeted 286 times to its 15,000 or so Followers. As is the norm on the social platform, those Tweets went on to be Retweeted - 13,523 times.

However, how many of those to whom the Budweiser Tweet was Retweeted were of legal drinking age? This is a concern of researchers at the University of Western Sydney, Australia, who believe there is a high risk of the Retweets from alcohol brands being seen by those under the age of 18.

"Twitter is a relatively new platform for companies, and what we found is that it seems to be quite an efficient way to promote their wares," says Dr Ann Dadich, business school lecturer at the University of Western Australia, who thinks tougher regulations should be implemented by Twitter.

"In addition to their direct audience, they're obviously getting that secondary audience as well."

Furthermore, alcohol brands often use hashtags associated with social events that may be being attended by those who are not of legal age to drink - events such as concerts and festivals. The researchers compare alcohol brands' use of hashtags to tobacco advertising saying it is "reminiscent of tobacco companies' past practices of associating their brands with positive themes".

The researchers' concerns appeared in the August 2013 issue of the Medical Journal of Australia. The study to which the letter refers looks at Twitter use by seven of the most powerful global alcohol brands including Corona, Heineken, Jack Daniels and Smirnoff.

Image via Shutterstock

Tags: alcohol brands, brand marketing, law and regulation, social marketing, Twitter

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