60% from influencers post about alcohol

September 24, 2021 / Topical / Background

Laughingly drinking a glass of wine, enjoying a well-deserved cocktail with your friends, 'bummed' about your hangover; influencers on social media regularly sprinkle with alcohol posts. This is worrying, according to UvA communication scientist Hanneke Hendriks.

This is worrying because influential people - the social influencers - talk a lot and positively about alcohol and also show many alcohol brands without making it clear that it is about advertising. And that is not allowed. Because alcohol marketing to minors is prohibited. And more importantly, alcohol posts can lead to more drinking among young people.

Time for an investigation

Because it was not yet clear how influencers popular among young people post about alcohol, whether alcohol brands are visible in their posts and whether they let their followers know when it comes to paid advertising, for example by using '#Ad', researched communication scientist Hanneke. Hendriks and colleagues explore the role of Instagram influencers who are popular among young people (minors).

The method

To find out how often and in what way alcohol is used on Instagram by various popular Instagram influencers, Hanneke and her colleagues analyzed the Instagram accounts of 178 social influencers. The following was taken into account:

How much and how often do influencers post about alcohol?

-Which influencers post about alcohol?

-What are the characteristics of their alcohol posts?

-To what extent are these alcohol posts commercialized (for example by showing brands and sponsorship mentions)

The results of the study

After studying 178 Instagram accounts, the researchers came to the following conclusion:

-That most of the influencers (63.5%) have recently posted about alcohol. On average, 3 out of 100 recent posts are alcohol posts, and some influencers even posted 16 alcohol posts per 100 posts.

-Alcohol posts are positive in nature (for example you see smiling people), often show a social context (one or more people in the picture), and are often posted by lifestyle influencers.

-A good portion (19.5%) of these alcohol posts clearly show an alcohol brand (such as Heineken, Moët, or Desperados). While these brands are clearly in the picture, only a third of these brand posts indicate that this is an advertisement/advertising, and even fewer mention the desired 'no 18, no alcohol' warning.

Influencers have influence

To come back to the worrying aspect, these alcohol posts do reach and influence minors, while alcohol marketing to minors is prohibited. The exposure of minors to alcohol posts can lead to more drinking in this vulnerable age group. According to the researchers, amendments to the legislation for alcohol advertising are therefore necessary to effectively include the context of social media. Source: uva.nl.

The results of the study have been published in Frontiers in Psychology.

read here the entire English-language article.



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