Brands and sociality: Alcohol branding, drinking culture and Facebook
Date of this Version
Critical accounts of Facebook as a channel for marketing communication have predominantly focused on the social network’s ability to provide marketers with free user generated content and with detailed consumer data that allow them to target advertising to specific audiences. Although this article includes such activities, it extends the discussion to concentrate on the under-researched topic of how Facebook creates value for marketers by exploiting sociality in general. Taking the practices of Australian alcohol brands as an instructive case, this article critically examines how these brands strategically employ Facebook to manage their connections with consumers’ identity making practices and engage with the mediation of everyday life. We argue that Facebook works not just as a platform to harvest data but also as a platform to manage the circulation of affect and creation of social connections around brands. This is particularly important in the case of alcohol brands since some social media engagement practices allow for circumventing regulatory regimes by prompting connections between mediations of drinking culture and the brand that would not be possible in other media channels.
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