Department of Psychology

Professor calls for more effective regulation of online alcohol marketing aimed at young people

Fri Nov 01 12:46:00 GMT 2013

Professor Christine Griffin, who is part of the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Control Studies (UKCTAS), found that young people are vulnerable to marketing tactics on online sites such as Facebook and do not always recognise this as advertising.

She worked with academics from Massey University in Auckland and Wellington, New Zealand researching how 18 to 25 year olds respond to online marketing of drink brands.

The amount of money large alcohol companies are devoting to digital marketing is increasing rapidly. The study found that online alcohol marketing aimed at young adults is widespread, highly dynamic and takes an ever-expanding range of forms as new digital and mobile technologies develop. Young people tend to view targeted alcohol marketing via social media as useful and informative, seldom recognising it as advertising. However, online alcohol marketing is pervasive across a range of social media platforms, and encourages a culture of intoxication or ‘extreme drinking’ amongst young adults.

Professor Griffin is sharing her findings with an all-party parliamentary group on alcohol misuse on Wednesday (6 November) after being invited to address the group by charity Alcohol Concern.
Professor Griffin said keeping track of digital alcohol marketing strategies and how they are used by different groups of young people is a major endeavour. This topic will be the focus of a Bath University PhD studentship starting in October 2014 under Professor Griffin’s supervision, linked to the UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies

Professor Griffin is one of the academic experts who are part of the University’s Institute for Policy Research (IPR). The IPR brings together many of the University’s research strengths to foster inter-disciplinary research of international excellence and impact. It bridges the worlds of research, policy and professional practice to address some of the major policy challenges we face on a local, national and global scale.