Clinician's Corner - February 2017
Clinician's Corner| February 2017 EARLY VIEW
An examination of how alcohol brands use sport to engage consumers on social media
Sport is an important part of Australian culture and many professional sports feature sponsorship by alcohol brands. Westberg et al† examine how alcohol brands use sport when communicating through social media, focusing on the social media activity of alcohol brands that sponsor the three largest spectator sports in Australia: Australian rules football, rugby league and cricket (available on Early View in Drug and Alcohol Review).
The authors identified eight wine brands, six beer brands and three spirit brands as sponsors of the relevant sports. Facebook and Twitter posts were assessed, and of 1086 brand-authored posts, 236 were identified as sport-linked communication. Westberg et al found that alcohol brands were not just using social media to promote their products, but that 69% of the sport-linked messages on Facebook and Twitter were aimed at engaging consumers as active participants through ‘calls to action’ ultimately resulting in co-creation of content.
Consumers were encouraged to engage in competition, collaboration, celebration and consumption. Messages by alcohol brands also frequently sought to appeal to consumers’ identification with a particular sport or team and their sense of camaraderie (“We've done it”). Analysis showed a high level of interest and engagement in these posts, with 128 brand-authored messages on Facebook having a total of 46 616 likes, 4300 comments and 6052 shares, and 108 brand-authored messages on Twitter having 1202 ‘favourites’ and being associated with 1045 retweets.
The authors note that further studies need to investigate how these strategies affect drinking practices in general, as well as how they affect alcohol consumption as part of the sport experience.
† Westberg K, Stavros C, Smith ACT, Munro G, Argus K. An examination of how alcohol brands use sport to engage consumers on social media. Drug Alcohol Rev 2016: Available on Early View.