The impact of celebrity and influencer endorsement on the gambling attitudes of Australian young people
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Deakin University, Australia
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A793
Research shows that young people perceive celebrity endorsement as having an influential impact on the appeal of gambling for young people. While regulations have focused on limiting the times gambling marketing can be shown, very little consideration has been given to the overall appeal strategies used within advertising, and how these might reach young people via different media platforms. This study aimed to understand young people’s perceptions about the use of celebrity and influencer endorsement in gambling promotions, the impact of these strategies, and young people’s perceptions of the policy mechanisms that could be used to respond.

21 focus groups were conducted using photo elicitation techniques. Participants were asked questions relating to celebrity and influencer endorsements of gambling advertising, what they could recall about this marketing, and their attitudes towards these forms of promotion. Data was analysed using reflexive thematic analysis.

Young people recalled seeing gambling marketing that featured celebrities and influencers in a range of media spaces. They perceived that both celebrities and influencers would have an impact on the normalisation of gambling because young people look up to them and would be prompted to want to try the brand advertised as a way of showing support. However, young people were also critical of such endorsements. Banning celebrities and influencers from gambling ads was supported by most young people in this study.

This research provides an in-depth understanding of young people’s attitudes towards celebrity and influencer endorsements of gambling. This extends previous literature that shows celebrity endorsements as particularly influential for young people, and suggests that influencers are effective in normalising gambling for young people. Policy makers should move beyond thinking about timing as the most important area for regulation, to consider the broader factors within marketing that may normalise gambling for young people.

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