Home > Alcohol packaging as a promotional tool: a focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland.

Jones, Daniel and Moodie, Crawford and Purves, Richard I and Fitzgerald, Niamh and Crockett, Rachel (2022) Alcohol packaging as a promotional tool: a focus group study with young adult drinkers in Scotland. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 83, (4), pp. 565-573. https://doi.org/10.15288/jsad.2022.83.565.

External website: https://www.jsad.com/doi/10.15288/jsad.2022.83.565

OBJECTIVE: Little research has been conducted on consumer perceptions of alcohol packaging as a marketing tool. The aim of this study was to explore how young adults view and engage with alcohol packaging.

METHOD: Eight focus groups were conducted in Glasgow (Scotland) with current drinkers ( = 50), segmented by age (18-24, 25-35), gender (female, male), and social grade (ABC1, C2DE). Participants were shown, allowed to handle, and asked about a range of alcoholic products.

RESULTS: Five main themes emerged from the data. The first was the ubiquity of alcohol packaging, with frequent exposure reported in different settings, such as shops and drinking venues, and via marketing. The second was appeal, with pack graphics (e.g., color), structure (e.g., shape, size), and promotions (e.g., gifts, limited editions) allowing alcohol packs to catch attention, enabling products to stand out on shelves, and helping to create product and brand liking, interest, and choice. Third, alcohol packaging was frequently associated with specific occasions and activities. Fourth, alcohol packaging informed perceptions of product-consumer targeting, suitability, and intended drinker profiles. Fifth, alcohol packaging also engaged nonvisual senses (e.g., touch, sound, smell), guiding expectations of product taste and palatability.

CONCLUSIONS: For young adult drinkers in Scotland, alcohol packaging can capture attention, create appeal, and help shape perceptions of the product, drinker, and drinking experience.

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