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Alcohol Marketing in the Digital Age

2010 | Download

New technologies are fundamentally altering the tobacco and alcohol marketing landscape. Even as the "information superhighway" has given way to a web devoted largely to commerce, marketing is one of the least understood aspects of the new media culture.

This report summarizes findings from a study that PHI's Berkeley Media Studies Group conducted with its colleagues at the Center for Digital Democracy to identify and analyze the emerging tobacco and alcohol digital marketing practices and to assess the policy implications for both.

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The study surveys some of the major features of the contemporary marketing landscape and their connection to the promotion of alcoholic beverages. One of its goals is to alert stakeholders to some of the emerging practices that demand greater scrutiny. Many of these new interactive techniques may well fly under the radar of policy makers, parents, and public health professionals.

If public health practitioners are to develop timely and appropriate strategies to address concerns about underage drinking—and the use of alcoholic products by society generally—it is critically important that we understand the dimensions and implications of the new marketing paradigm. This report discusses key concepts and practices that are guiding the growth of interactive marketing, and then examines four major distribution platforms—social media, online video, mobile networks, and immersive virtual reality sites—with examples of the ways alcohol marketers are using these platforms to spread their message.