This paper presents findings from exploratory qualitative research as part of a critical social marketing study examining the impact of alcohol marketing communications on youth drinking. The findings from stakeholder interviews (regulators and marketers) suggest that some alcohol marketing might target young people, and that marketers are cognisant of growing concern at alcohol issues, including control of alcohol marketing. Focus groups with young people (aged 13–15 years) revealed a sophisticated level of awareness of, and involvement in, alcohol marketing across several channels. It was found that some marketing activities featured content that could appeal to young people and appeared to influence their, well-developed, brand attitudes. The research demonstrates the utility of taking a critical social marketing approach when examining the impact of alcohol marketing. The implications of these findings for research, regulation and policy around alcohol marketing are also examined. The contribution that studies such as this make to the debate around marketing principles and practice, and to social marketing, is also discussed.
Copyright © 2009 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.