The average US adolescent is heavily exposed to alcohol brand references in popular music.
An appropriate story for Sunday morning, as the overpriced alcohol many of you slurped last night works its way out of your suffering system, and the music you bounced happily to in the small hours converts itself to nagging tinnitus and an avowed hatred of low-flying aeroplanes, barking dogs and mopeds.
Take heart, it was not wholly your fault that you drank too much last night.
Innocent and trusting type that you are, the dirty booze marketing and promotion people have pounced on your naivete, bombarding you with the ineluctable imagery of booze = success.
You didn't stand a chance….
In a study published in the international journal Addiction, researchers at the University of Pittsburgh reported that the average US adolescent is heavily exposed to alcohol brand references in popular music.
Branded alcohol references are most common in rap, R&B, and hip hop songs, and they are commonly associated with a luxury lifestyle characterized by degrading sexual activity, wealth, partying, violence and the use of drugs.
This analysis of 793 of the most popular songs in the youth market between 2005 and 2007 found that about 25% of the songs that mention alcohol also mention a brand name. This represents about 3.4 alcohol brand appearances per song-hour.
Typically, brand-name references to alcohol are strongly associated with positive feelings and associations, which are often the goal of advertisements. The brands found in music, such as Patron Tequila, Grey Goose Vodka, and Hennessey Cognac, represent the same distilled spirits brands that are increasingly named as favourites by underage drinkers, especially women.
The authors suggest that the relatively high level of brand-name alcohol appearances in popular music may be a consequence of strengthening ties between the alcohol and music industries. Some alcohol companies have formally entered the music industry, such as Seagram's ownership of Universal and Polygram between 1995 and 2001. And individual artists, particularly those in the rap and hip hop communities, have begun to establish and promote their own alcohol lines, including Lil' Jon (Little Jonathan Wineries, 2008), Ludacris (Conjure Vodka, 2009), Jay-Z (Armadale Vodka, 2002), Snoop Dogg (Landy Cognac, 2008), TI (Remy Martin Cognac, 2010) and Sean "P. Diddy" Combs (Ciroc Vodka, 2001).
The line between paid advertising and brand references is difficult to distinguish because advertising companies have begun retroactively to reward artists with product, sponsorship, or endorsement deals after a song containing their product's name becomes popular. For example, when Busta Rhymes and P. Diddy's hit "Pass the Courvoisier" was released in 2002, the cognac's sales jumped 18.9% and Courvoisier's parent company, France's Allied Domecq, subsequently reached a lucrative promotional deal with Busta and P. Diddy's management company, Violator.
The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. – Aristotle