Danske alkoholproducenters rolle i 15-16-åriges italesættelse af egen alkoholkultur: En diskursanalyse

Else-Marie Eriksen

Student thesis: Master thesis


The role of Danish manufacturers of alcoholic beverages in 15-16 year-olds’ articulation of own alcohol culture: A discourse analysis Youth drinking is a topical theme in Danish media, since we hold the European record of alcohol consumption among teenagers. The role and responsibility of the Danish manufacturers of alcohol products are interesting factors to take into account, and especially how the marketing affects the teenagers and their perception of what is ‘normal’ alcohol culture. Hence this thesis intends to characterize and problematize the role of the Danish commercials for alcoholic beverages in the way in which 15 to 16 year-olds discursively construct their own alcohol culture. The commercials in question promote the brands Tempt Cider, Cult KAY-SAR, Carlsberg Pilsner, Somersby Dry Apple and Tuborg Lime. The methodical deliberations and decisions of the thesis are all based on a poststructuralist approach to creating knowledge. The empirical data is collected through qualitative interviews with sixteen teenagers (aged 15 and 16). Roland Barthes’ theory of mythology, Stuart Hall’s encoding/decoding model and Laclau and Mouffe’s discourse theory are the main theories of the thesis. Finally, I apply Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction in order to problematize my findings. Common for all applied theorists is that they share the poststructuralist conviction. I identified five myths within the commercials which claim that: the sexual behavior of women under the influence of alcohol is legitimate (Tempt), guys can through the effects of alcohol succeed in their pursuance of women (Cult). Carlsberg’s pilsner is comparable with extraordinary events, Somersby’s cider is truthfully “refreshing”, because they admit to commercials’ general incredibility, while those who practice a certain culture of excessive alcohol drinking and partying deserve praise (Tuborg). All commercials use an approach of enjoyment. A reception analysis showed that most of the girls did not identify themselves with the Tempt girl, but that both genders acknowledged the postulate of the Cult commercial, generally without indignation. While the Carlsberg commercial did not awake a lot of involvement with the interviewed, Tuborg managed to illustrate exactly the way in which many of the respondents practice their own culture of alcohol and parties. Tuborg caused a higher level of involvement than any of the other commercials. Through a thorough analysis of the more prominent signs used by the commercials and the interviewed, I found that all, with high probability, share the same discourse on alcohol. This discourse pegs out different positions for the subjects to take, such as feminine, masculine, young, old, sexual, non-sexual, an alcohol consumer or not, and most importantly: within or outside of the community. This could mean that the commercials either purposely address the 15 and 16 year-old, or that the “real” target segment has a similar, young and unconcerned discourse on alcohol as the teenagers. The deconstructive reading showed that the discourse studied is structured by valuing the masculine, the drunk and the community over the feminine, the sober and the sole. By neglecting how these pairs cannot be categorized that definitely, the existing system of meaning is enabled to survive. The final conclusion of this thesis is that the role of the commercials is enabling the existing consensus among the young people to survive, and thereby maintain the drinking as ‘normal’ and not drinking as ‘not normal’.

EducationsMA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2011
Number of pages81