FARE analysed content relating to the alcohol product Hard Solo on social media platform, TikTok, where it’s estimated almost half the users are aged 13 to 24 years.
The findings show people accessing the platform have been widely exposed to the product, with some of the user-generated videos receiving high levels of engagement.
For young people, exposure to alcohol marketing increases the likelihood of starting to drink alcohol at a younger age and drinking alcohol at higher risk levels later in life. Ensuring that children are not exposed to alcohol marketing is therefore important in preventing harm.
The Hard Solo product closely resembles the well-recognised non-alcoholic soft drink, Solo. Because of the clear similarities between the two, there is concern that it promotes the use of alcoholic products among young people, and that children may confuse the alcoholic version with the soft drink.
Currently in Australia, there isn’t federal regulation covering alcohol marketing. Instead, alcohol companies set their own advertising rules through the voluntary, industry-led and funded Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code (ABAC) scheme.
Key findings and recommendations
- The hashtags ‘#hardsolo’ and ‘#hardsoloalcoholic’ respectively had 10.2 million views and 741,700 views, according to the TikTok mobile application on 20 October 2023.
- When analysing the content on TikTok, three key themes consistently emerged:
- Appeal to young people
- Speed and ease of intoxication
- The masked taste of alcohol
- Nine of the TikTok videos referenced in this report alone had a collective total of over 120,000 likes at 10 October 2023.
- In the absence of comprehensive federal government regulation, legislation in some states and territories allows regulators to restrict alcoholic products that are likely to be confused with soft drink – for example, due to a resemblance to soft drink. These jurisdictions can therefore take definitive action now to ensure young people are free from the risks associated with Hard Solo.