“F*ck It! Let’s Get to Drinking—Poison our Livers!”: a Thematic Analysis of Alcohol Content in Contemporary YouTube MusicVideos

Jo Cranwell , John Britton, Manpreet Bains

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)



The purpose of the present study is to describe the portrayal of alcohol content in popular YouTube music videos.


We used inductive thematic analysis to explore the lyrics and visual imagery in 49 UK Top 40 songs and music videos previously found to contain alcohol content and watched by many British adolescents aged between 11 and 18 years and to examine if branded content contravened alcohol industry advertising codes of practice.


The analysis generated three themes. First, alcohol content was associated with sexualised imagery or lyrics and the objectification of women. Second, alcohol was associated with image, lifestyle and sociability. Finally, some videos showed alcohol overtly encouraging excessive drinking and drunkenness, including those containing branding, with no negative consequences to the drinker.


Our results suggest that YouTube music videos promote positive associations with alcohol use. Further, several alcohol companies adopt marketing strategies in the video medium that are entirely inconsistent with their own or others agreed advertising codes of practice. We conclude that, as a harm reduction measure, policies should change to prevent adolescent exposure to the positive promotion of alcohol and alcohol branding in music videos.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)66-76
Number of pages10
JournalInternational Journal of Behavioral Medicine
Issue number1
Early online date6 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - 24 Feb 2017


Cite this