Alcohol brand social media activity designed for sport link

A NEW study has revealed alcohol companies are finding new and sophisticated ways to use the power of social media to pitch drinking as being critical to a person's sporting experience.

The RMIT University study, Merging sport and drinking cultures through social media, found the alcohol industry cleverly timed its social media posts to tie in with professional sporting events to encourage consumption.

The study analysed Facebook, Twitter and YouTube content around the 2013-14 Australian Football League, National Rugby League and Australian Cricket seasons.

The report found brands use a range of mediums, such as smartphone apps, push notifications, trivia and tipping competitions, celebrity endorsements, promotional merchandise, videos, memes and co-created content linked to sport to engage with consumers

This included posing sports questions, using player endorsements and prompting fans to head to the pub when a game is about to start.

RMIT's Associate Professor Kate Westberg, one of the authors of the study, said the industry's social media strategies were carefully developed to go beyond promoting their product.

She said social media was now a key player in promoting alcohol, giving the industry the ability to reach millions of consumers and aggressively target young drinkers.

"The ultimate goal appears to be to merge the drinking culture with sport culture," she said.

"They seek to normalise consumption by using social media to present drinking as an integral part of the sport experience whether spectatorship, celebration or commiseration."


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