‘Black Out Rage Gallon’ (aka borg): An investigation of a risky drinking trend on TikTok

Joelie Mandzufas, Natalie Lim, Skye McPhie, Craig Martin, Robyn S. Johnston, Karen Lombardi, Gina S.A. Trapp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Issue Addressed: A ‘Black Out Rage Gallon’ (borg) is a customised, individual alcoholic beverage popularised on TikTok, whereby half the water in a gallon jug is replaced with alcohol (usually spirits), flavourings, electrolytes and caffeine. We investigated the characteristics and portrayal of the emerging alcohol trend associated with the hashtag descriptor #borg on TikTok. Methods: We identified highly viewed TikTok videos with the #borg hashtag (n = 103) and conducted a content analysis, capturing viewer engagement (‘likes’, shares, comments), techniques used, characteristics of featured individuals, and the portrayal of alcohol and risky drinking behaviours. Results: Alcohol was visible in three quarters of the videos analysed (n = 78, average amount of alcohol present 865 mL per borg) and consumed in one third of the videos (n = 34). One quarter of videos (n = 25) promoted alleged benefits of borg consumption compared to other alcohol products or approaches to drinking, yet only nine videos included a warning about potential harms. Conclusions: The borg trend on TikTok may encourage risky drinking, by portraying it in a style that younger viewers are likely to see as fun and entertaining. So What?: We were able to gain a better understanding of how this potentially health harming activity is represented on a social media platform that is popular with young people. The speedy dissemination of this trend highlights the need to monitor, investigate and counter emerging trends. Concurrently, there is an urgent need for content restrictions to limit the visibility and promotion of risky alcohol consumption on TikTok.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Promotion Journal of Australia
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 19 May 2024

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