Poster Presentation Australian & New Zealand Obesity Society 2015 Annual Scientific Meeting

Online marketing of sugar-sweetened beverages to Australian young people  (#212)

Aimee Brownbill 1 2 , Caroline Miller 2 , Annette Braunack-Mayer 1
  1. School of Population Health, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, South Australia , Australia
  2. Population Health Research Group, SAHMRI, Adelaide, South Australia , Australia

Sugar sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption is high in Australia, particularly among adolescents and young adults. The need to reduce added sugars in the diet, with SSBs a notable contributor, is attracting increased attention from health agencies interested in curbing obesity and associated non-communicable diseases. While the marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products to children has been a focus of research and policy interest, little attention has been focused on the marketing of such products to adolescents and young adults. The increased access to, usage of, and importance of social media for young people, paired with the unique opportunity provided by social media platforms for the continuous monitoring and facilitation of social interactions, consumer engagement, and peer-to-peer relationships, makes young people vulnerable to highly personalised and targeted digital marketing campaigns by the food and beverage industry.

This study investigates the ways in which SSBs are marketed to young people aged 13-25 years old on social media through a content analysis of the top SSB Facebook pages ranked by Australian followers. Descriptive and thematic analysis was conducted on all official company posts made to these pages during the 6 month period of 1 January to 30 June 2015. The thematic analysis focused on identifying common marketing techniques used by these companies with a focus on how engagement and user generated content is encouraged and facilitated by the pages.

The results of this study provide insight into the current marketing techniques being employed by the beverage industry to target young people and will help inform future policy developments regarding the marketing of SSBs to young people.