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The fine lines of booze marketing

Published December 20, 2013 at 10:02 am

Creating a marketing campaign for any product can be difficult, but the makers of specifically controversial things, like alcohol, might face their own challenges in getting to the right market without being accused of taking advantage of others, especially minors.

AllThingsD’s Peter Kafka reported on the way that some of the biggest names in alcohol are attempting to use social media to fully engage their followers. What the article notes is the content half of what these ads are attempting to provide: links to video and attempts to launch some product-related hashtags and get them trending.

Jim Beam attempts to provide recipes for others to follow using their liquor, just in time for the holidays. Meanwhile, Heineken’s “Openyourworld” campaign expanded on the retro images that it used in previous years.

These could be, perhaps, promising ways to connect with a desired audience. But, as a recent Reuters Health piece points out, putting this kind of content on sites commonly accessed by younger people could put the brand itself at risk by making it seem predatory. It quoted Eleanor Winpenny, who was recently part of a study that looked at the strategies booze merchants employ and how they might lead to minors drinking.

“Parents should be aware that major alcohol brands are using the internet to market their products, in particular on social media websites which are heavily used by children and adolescents,” she wrote.

Care needs to be taken, then, especially when your brand traffics in sometimes controversial material that can be seen in free and open parts of the internet.

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