Alcohol Advertising on Social Media: A Content Analysis on Message Strategies of Alcohol Advertisements on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


  • Alexis Campbell University of Arkansas
  • Jee Young Chung University of Arkansas



In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, alcohol consumption in the United States has increased greatly (Barbosa, Cowell, & Dowd, 2020), and social media use has increased in 2020. The current paper seeks to explore strategies of alcohol-related social media advertisements across a variety of alcohol types, alcohol brands, and social media platforms. By applying the Elaboration Likelihood Model, the current study analyzed message strategies used to appeal to consumers, content patterns, and characteristics of alcohol advertisements on social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram). A content analysis on 596 ads of 12 alcohol brands showed that the most common themes included “taste,” “seasonal,” “holiday,” “recipe,” and “joke/humor” in captions and pictures of alcohol ads. Themes known for targeting young people in the past (“social success,” “an improved mood,” and “increased sense of self-confidence”) were not found as much as expected in captions and pictures. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed.