• An exploration of alcohol advertising on social networking sites: an analysis of content, interactions and young people’s perspectives

      Atkinson, Amanda; Ross-Houle, Kim; Begley, Emma; Sumnall, Harry; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester
      Young people increasingly communicate and interact via social digital media such as Social Network Sites (SNS), where they discuss and display alcohol-related content. SNS have also become an important aspect of the alcohol industry’s multi-platform marketing strategies, which may contribute to the creation of intoxigenic digital spaces in which young people learn about alcohol. This paper presents findings of a content analysis of the extent, nature, and user interaction with SNS-based alcohol marketing for brands popular among young people in the UK. It provides a systematic analysis of both official and user generated marketing content on brand Facebook and Twitter profiles, and user interaction with such content. Findings from peer group interviews (N = 14) also present young people’s (N = 70) perspectives and experiences regarding alcohol marketing on SNS. New SNS engagement marketing strategies extended existing multi-platform brand marketing. Young people interacted with such strategies as part of their identity-making practices, yet through a discourse of immaturity distanced themselves from certain brands, online marketing practices and the idea that their own actions were influenced by marketing. Local night life economy marketing appeared more meaningful and relevant to young people and led to further interaction with brand marketing. Implications of the findings are discussed in relation to the influence of alcohol marketing on young people, and the implications for current regulatory frameworks
    • Magazines as contradictory spaces for alcohol messaging: a mixed method content and thematic analysis of UK women’s magazine representations of alcohol and its consumption

      Atkinson, Amanda; Meadows, Beth; Ross-Houle, Kim; Smith, Chloe; Sumnall, Harry; Liverpool John Moores University; University of Chester
      BACKGROUND Women’s magazines provide a space in which gendered norms around alcohol-related practice are (re)-produced. They act as important points of reference for women to draw upon in their own understandings of alcohol use within their identity making. Studying the alcohol-related messages women’s magazines disseminate is therefore an important line of inquiry. METHODS An analysis of textual and visual alcohol depictions, including alcohol advertising, in 70 editions of 20 printed magazines targeted at and read by women, published between August 2020 and January 2021, was conducted using quantitative content and qualitative thematic analysis. RESULTS Women’s magazines have the potential to disseminate public health messages about the physical and mental health impacts of alcohol use, alcohol’s role in gender inequalities and the risk of harm from alcohol use by men. However, they do so in ways that reproduce harmful gender norms and expectations, and overlook the structural causes of alcohol-related harms. Associations between alcohol use and violence against women were simplified, in ways that ignored the root causes, produced victim-blaming narratives and deflected responsibility from the perpetrator to the effects of alcohol. Narratives around drinking and sobriety were underpinned by concerns over appearance, which reinforced social expectations of the ideal feminine body. Health narratives were in conflict with the presence of pro-alcohol messages such as consumption suggestions and alcohol advertising, which promoted alcohol use as a normalised aspect of women’s day to day lives. CONCLUSIONS Women receive a number of mixed and contradictory messages on alcohol use through their magazine readership, which places limits on magazines as educational sources of public health messaging.