Drinks industry shakes up influencer marketing

The world’s leading global beer, wine and spirits producers have partnered with 13 leading advertising, public relations and influencer agencies to help ensure alcohol marketing by social influencers is clearly recognised, responsibly advertised, and aimed at an audience over the legal purchase age.

COVID-19 has fuelled an increasing reliance on social media, with 4.2 billion people now using these platforms, a figure that rose by 13.2% in 2020 (Digital 2021 report by creative agency We Are Social and Hootsuite).

As Spirits Business notes: “Over the past year, the global drinks sector also turned to social media as a primary means of communicating with consumers. With bars and restaurants closed in many places, and distillery tours on hold, spirits companies funnelled their marketing spend into digital.”

Alcohol Beverages Australia (ABA) said it supports the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD) on the launch of its new global standards pledge for influencer marketing.

The pledge has been signed by AB InBev, Asahi, Bacardi, Beam Suntory, Brown-Forman, Diageo, Pernod Ricard, William Grant & Sons, Kirin, Carlsberg, Heineken and Molson Coors.

Under the pledge, producers and advertisers commit to conducting diligence on influencers used, to using age-affirmation technology on platforms where available, and to promoting better understanding of responsible alcohol consumption, for those who choose to drink.

Andrew Wilsmore

ABA CEO Andrew Wilsmore (above) said: “This new joint pledge demonstrates how our industry remains dedicated to promoting its world-class products in a responsible and transparent manner.

“The pledge complements existing requirements of Australian marketers set by the ABAC Responsible Alcohol Marketing Code, in particular a requirement to age restrict influencer marketing and guidance for influencer marketing included in the ABAC Digital Alcohol Marketing Best Practice Guide.  

“We strongly support the work undertaken by both ABAC and IARD and encourage our own Australian marketers within the industry to become acquainted with the standards and ensure any future engagement with influencers is compliant,” Mr Wilsmore said.

As well as the pledge, the move to formalise safeguards for influencer marketing includes:

  • A set of five specific safeguards that apply to any content involving influencers who work with the leading beer, wine, and spirits producers
  • Tools and videos that support all alcohol brands and influencers to follow robust responsible marketing practices when creating content
  • Clear commitments to market responsibly, including not making health claims, promoting illegal or excessive consumption, or positioning abstinence negatively

This work builds on ongoing actions by the drinks industry to implement safeguards for alcohol advertising online, including the Digital Guiding Principles and partnerships with YouTube, Facebook, and Snapchat to improve age screening, enabling users to opt out of alcohol marketing, and allowing content creators to age-gate posts.

Research by VicHealth in 2019 that looked into the top 70 Aussie Instagram influencers and their alcohol-related content found cocktails, wine and champagne are by far the most popular types of alcohol featured editorially and in sponsored posts.

Social media celebrities including Bec Judd, Brooke Hogan, Pia Muehlenbeck, Davina Rankin and Sarah Todd were among those making posts to their hundreds of thousands of followers featuring brands. 

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Categories: Business