Revealed: how alcopops lure the young

Sydney Morning Herald August 6, 2007
AN ALCOHOL industry insider has admitted companies deliberately target young people by sweetening ready-to-drink alcopops to mask the taste of alcohol and appeal to the “younger palate”. A marketing executive behind the vodka-based drink Absolut Cut said yesterday the market was booming for high-strength pre-mixed drinks that “get young people drunk faster”. Cheap, sugary drinks packaged in bright colours are the best way to start people drinking at an early age, said Mat Baxter, a partner in the media planning agency Naked Communications.”It’s a more effective and easier way to get drunk faster and that’s a conclusion that we’ve drawn from understanding the category dynamics,” he said. “It’s one of the few drinks where you don’t necessarily know you’re drinking alcohol and that’s a conscious effort to make those drinks more appealing to young people. [The] drinks are very much about masking the alcohol taste.”Mr Baxter’s views first emerged in the advertising journal B&T, in which he remarked on Absolut Cut – a ready-to-drink product, or RTD, with an alcohol content of 5.5 per cent – being taken off the market. He said it was a sign that the market for these drinks – described by some in the industry as the “binge drinker” category – was dominated by stronger, 7 per cent alcohol, drinks with appeal to young people on a budget.