In the Doghouse

Big Alcohol Needs to 'Snap' Out of It

July 14, 2016

Budweiser July 4th Snapchat Lens
A recent study revealed that Snapchat has become the most popular social network among teens. The data shows that teenagers tend to be more interested in viewing pictures and video rather than the text-focused media of Twitter and Facebook. It also indicated that teens spent a mind-boggling nine hours a day on media. While tweens, between the ages of 8-12, spend approximately six hours a day on media. During the summer months, it’s safe to assume that those numbers increase.

Snapchat is growing at a rapid rate while alcohol brands have been permitted to advertise on the teen-friendly platform. It should come as no surprise then that AB InBev is among the brands exploiting the platform to market beer. In response to the many red flags being raised, the alcohol brands are defending themselves, stating that they are only targeting users who are registered to be 21 years of age and older.

But that's really no defense at all as the age-gating protections on Snapchat, as on other social media, are a joke. Factor in ridiculously ineffective industry self-regulation through DISCUS and the Beer Institute and we essentially have no effective policies to protect underage youth from paid advertising.

AB InBev has taken part in several Snapchat "campaign filters", including the recent Fourth of July one that featured ‘Happy 4th of July’ text, a patriotic hat, and Budweiser "America"-branded beer cans. This is incredibly risky considering the evidence that Snapchat cannot prevent exposure of this material to underage minors.

Without effective, government regulations Big Alcohol has hijacked yet another youth-oriented social media platform, proving once again that it's time for a change in how this industry operates. And that perhaps a great place to start would be to prohibit alcohol advertising from all social media.