Vitrue has announced a Twitter feature designed to help alcohol brands keep underage drinkers from following their streams. The social media marketing software firm said "several" beer and spirits brands will be rolling out the product in the next 20 days. Vitrue currently works with brands like Heineken and Corona.
The tool creates a temporary barrier between the Twitter user and the brand, asking for date of birth info before allowing the consumer to become a follower. Essentially, the product borrows from the "please verify your age" tactic employed on alcohol brand websites for years and applies it to social media.
Until now, alcohol brands have often depended on their Twitter bio while attempting to keep underage drinkers from following on the micro-blogging site. For instance, Heineken’s bio states, "Enjoy the latest Heineken news, films, world-class music and sporting events. By clicking 'Follow' you confirm you are of legal purchasing age in your country. "
Atlanta-based Vitrue said the follower verification feature can also be used in a similar fashion to like-gating, which requires someone to like a brand before accessing Facebook content, in the hopes of increasing Facebook audiences. It's plausible to imagine Heineken and Corona becoming more active Twitter advertisers if follower-gating proves effective.
During April 2011, Jack Daniel's became the first alcohol brand to buy Twitter ad space. Alcohol firms had previously been restricted from buying ads on the social site since its audience consisted of too many users below drinking age. But then a Nielsen-comScore report showed that more than 70 percent of Twitter users were over 21 years of age, satisfying self-regulatory requirements put in place by the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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