Research matters: from Tik Tok to vaping

14 Aug, 2020
Sommer Kapitan

From privacy issues around Tik Tok to new regulations around vaping, marketing expert Sommer Kapitan has been sharing her expertise across multiple media outlets.

American-born Sommer, who joined AUT’s Department of Marketing in March 2015, specialises in the rise of social influencers, the role of social marketing, and how marketing can be used for social good.

Not only does Sommer bring a strong evidence-base to support her expertise, she also understands – and practices – the fine art of translation. In other words, she knows how to turn “academic speak” into plain English – which means you don’t have to be a university lecturer to understand the value of her work.

“Everything we see, hear, and even believe is influenced by marketing – it shapes so much of our daily thoughts and behaviour,” says Sommer. “I am fortunate that my job enables me to examine the powerful yet often unacknowledged role that marketing plays in our lives, and to think about how those influences affect our behaviour and decision-making.”

Sommer was recently interviewed on TVNZ’s Seven Sharp, responding to the growing concerns around privacy and security on the social media platform, Tik Tok. She explored the risks we all take when using apps on our phones and warned of the “tightrope” we walk between having our data personalised so we receive relevant information and having our data “harvested” for unknown sources to use.

In addition, Sommer has long advocated tighter regulations on how vaping is marketed in New Zealand – so it is recognised as a significant health risk, not just a lifestyle choice. She was asked to comment on the newly passed Smokefree Environments and Regulated Products (Vaping) Amendment Bill, which she describes as a “huge step forward for an unregulated market that has allowed vaping rates to flourish among teens and young adults”.

And she was quoted extensively in a Radio New Zealand story that was shared widely across our national media channels.

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