The Social Media & Unhealthy Marketing project

Nicholas Carah (UQ), Sean O’Rourke (VicHealth) and I were invited recently to present some research to the Australian Prevention Partnership Centre’s ‘citizen science community of practice’. We presented the research design and methods behind our project on ‘unhealthy’ digital marketing to young people, which has been a collaboration with Nic at UQ and VicHealth that I’ve been investing a lot of time in over the last year or so. Essentially our team worked with 204 young Victorians to understand the kinds of ads and marketing material they saw on social media, from three industries: alcohol, gambling/betting, and unhealthy food/drinks. We took a ‘citizen science’ or participatory, informant-led approach to the study, and collected more than 5,000 screenshots. You can see a recording of our presentation going through the design and methodology here:

We aren’t able to present on or discuss findings just yet, but we hope a full report will be launched by VicHealth in the not-too-distant future.

The talk was also illustrated by Kylie Dunn, which I thought was pretty cool:

Thanks to Yvonne Laird, Samantha Rowbotham, and Leah Marks for inviting us to present the project to this community of practice, and for all the feedback and input they’ve provided over the course of the project too. We have so much data to work through over the next few years, and we’re looking forward moving on from the report to publications shortly.

The wider project team that Nic and I worked with on this was Dr Chiara De Lazzari (Monash), Lillian Rangiah (UQ), Maria-Gemma Brown (UQ), Dr Karla Elliott (Monash), Dr Claire Tanner (Monash), Assoc Prof Steven Roberts (Monash), Dr Michael Savic (Monash), and Dr Amy Dobson (Curtin). It has been a challenging but very rewarding project to be part of.