Nathan Critchlow & Crawford Moodie (2022) Consumer protection messages in alcohol marketing on Twitter in Ireland: a content analysis, Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy, DOI: 10.1080/09687637.2022.2028730
Alcohol marketing provides a high-reach opportunity to communicate consumer protection messages (e.g. health warnings), but there are concerns about the efficacy of self-regulatory practice. Through the Public Health (Alcohol) Act, Ireland will mandate the presence of such information. To understand the potential impact of the Act, we examined: (1) the presence of self-regulated consumer protection messages in alcohol marketing on Twitter; and (2) the presence of warnings (about alcohol, drinking when pregnant, and cancers) and signposts to websites with information about alcohol, which will be required under the Act.
Data come from a content analysis of Tweets (n = 554) from a purposive non-probabilistic sample of 13 alcohol companies either based in Ireland or, for multinational companies, where marketing was targeted at Ireland. A third of Tweets (36.3%) had a self-regulated message, with ‘Get the facts. Be DRINKAWARE’ featured most (20.0%). No Tweets signposted independent health websites, 20.6% signposted an industry-funded website (drinkaware.ie), and 6.7% signposted industry-controlled websites. No Tweets featured warnings about the dangers of alcohol or link to cancers. Only one brand (0.5% Tweets) referenced drinking during pregnancy, but only through incidental exposure to warnings on packaging. Ireland’s legislation will fundamentally improve communication of warnings in alcohol marketing on Twitter.
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