Alcohol brands enter the Snapchat fray; run age risks

Sarah Homewood
By Sarah Homewood | 12 July 2016

Alcohol brands in the US have been increasingly advertising on Snapchat, which sees them running the risk of pushing their messages to Snapchat's younger, and in some cases underage, audience.

Ad Age is reporting that brands such as MillerCoors, Beam Suntory, Diageo and Bacardi Limited are among the companies marketing on the app, however this is potentially risky for these brands due to Snapchat's teenage audience. This is also more of an issue in the US, due to the fact that its legal age for drinking is 21, rather than 18 locally.

In the US, the beer and liquor industries have regulations stating that ad placements can only be made on media properties in which 71.6% of the audience is above legal drinking age. Snapchat has not publicly disclosed the percentage of users under 21, although it recently revealed that more than half of its new users in the US are 25 or older.

Some brands in the US are holding back however, with Brown-Forman, whose brands include Jack Daniels telling Ad Age that it still has concerns about advertising on the platform.

"Until the demographics get to a higher percentage [of 21-plus] and the targeting capabilities from Snapchat get better, it's not something we can open up to Brown-Forman brands," Jason Loehr, the company's VP-global media and insights, said in a statement to Ad Age.

Heineken USA is also yet to start advertising on Snapchat, however locally marketing manager for Heineken Australia, Nada Steel, previously told AdNews that the brand is watching the platform closely, and wouldn't rule out launching on Snapchat.

“Were looking at different communication strategies with the 18-29 year old demographic, and it's obviously where their focus is at the moment,” she says.

“We want to play where they are, but it has to be really relevant, we don't want to just do it because it's the next latest and greatest thing,” she added.

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