Alcohol advertising

Stealth fighting: upshot of banning alcohol advertising

Any limitations or crackdown on liquor advertising will be undermined by the Internet and social media, says Yoav Tchelet, of dotJWT, the digital division of advertising agency JWT.

He says government’s proposed Control of Marketing of Alcoholic Beverages Bill will force brands to sidestep the law and undertake “stealth” marketing. Digital initiatives “are set to have a crucial role to play in sustaining brand awareness, especially if traditional above-the-line advertising channels are eventually closed to alcohol brands”.

In US, alcohol brands such as MillerCoors are becoming increasingly active on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Miller recently debuted its Light variant on Twitter.

The maker of Jim Beam bourbon has advertised on Facebook since 2009 and took the Twitter plunge last year.

Courvoisier cognac has promoted itself online through former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal, while hip-hop music mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs promotes French vodka Cîroc on Twitter.

Strategic planner Sam Beckbessinger, of the Quirk digital agency, says online opportunities will depend on the extent to which the SA government regulates advertising. “It could regulate the Internet as well,” she says. “Countries such as Russia have regulated online advertising, but online marketing is broader than advertising.

“If online advertising is regulated, social media is likely to be exempt. It is more about building a community and is driven by what people are actually looking for rather than paid ads on websites,” she says.

One drawback of digital media is the inability to reach mass audiences with a single message. Online communication is becoming tailored for individual users…..

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