A handful of alcohol companies have gotten in trouble recently for breaking rules regarding the use of influencers to promote their brands. Some brands worked with influencers younger than 25 (apparently, there are rules against this, so that alcohol doesn’t seem cool to teenagers); Diageo had some influencers promoting their brand who failed to tell people they were getting paid to do so.
It’s a common advertising tactic, and when it’s transparent and authentic, it can be quite effective. But as a consumer, it’s important to know that some influencers are paid to promote certain brands so that you can decide if you give weight to a celebrity’s endorsement or not.
Here are some good things to know about when and how alcohol brands are getting promoted to you on social media.
There are many different angles a promotional post can take.There are a few types of alcohol influencers on the rise: celebrities, comedians/actors (people who can make a funny video, which makes that brand seem more appealing) cocktail mixologists (who generate recipes that use certain brands), and founders (influencers who own their own alcohol brands and either started a new social media presence for the brand or already had a strong one).
It’s not just the big brand names working with celebrities anymore. In fact, there may be a better logical match between micro-influencers and smaller breweries and distilleries. These posts can come off as more authentic when the brand being promoted is new, unique, or unheard of.
It’s supposed to be disclosed. Influencers are, both by FTC ruling and Instagram policy, required to disclose their partnerships with companies to people. Instagram offers a “paid partnership” tag; the FTC appears satisfied when influencers put #ad in their post text. But either way, you should be able to tell looking at a post if someone has been paid to promote a particular brand of beer, wine vodka, etc. or not! After all, some posts aren’t paid for at all.
Alcohol companies often provide specific guidance about what the post should look like. This is so each post they pay for has a certain on-brand look and feel. Malibu or Corona might make sense on a beach; champagne at a glamorous party. When you see one of these ads (because they are, in fact, ads), try to guess what associations the brand wants you to have with that drink. That way, you can be more aware of those messages and decide which ones you want to believe
Keep an eye out for what influencers are saying about alcohol, and if you’ve decided to quit or cut back, as always, please give Drinker’s Helper a try! We provide tracking, insights, exercises and personalized support groups to help people quit or cut back on drinking.