Should Alcohol Commercial Be Banned?

March 4, 2013 by  
Filed under Health

Alcohol commercials have been around for years now, but are they really appropriate and should they be banned?

There is no proven link between the commercials and the amount of alcohol consumed, so is the ban really necessary?

Alcohol abuse is an illness and one caused by many different complex and personal reasons and is unlikely to be sorted by something as simple as the ban of commercials. Whilst this is true, nobody is saying things will change overnight. The ban of alcohol commercials may not be a solution to the excessive levels of alcohol consumption but it would certainly be a step in the right direction.

Positive Promotion

The glamorization of alcohol in advertisements is said to have influence on people and their behavior or beliefs. Of course the advertisers are going to promote their brand in a positive light, so how can they argue that they aren’t encouraging people to drink? The companies show their drink in the best possible way in order to sell their products, but don’t inform people about the risks associated with drinking. How can someone deem it appropriate to advertise something positively that affects so many people in a dangerous way.

Targeting the young

Currently, the standard is that alcohol advertisements can only be placed in media where the majority of the audience is over the legal drinking age, but what about that small minority that are underage. Many adverts have been criticized for appealing to the younger audience, specifically through the means of social network sites.POLITICS Alcohol 1

A study in April 2012 revealed that, 78.2% of US teenagers were reported to have consumed alcohol; and 15.1% met criteria for lifetime abuse. This proves that it’s not just people of legal age who are affected by alcohol abuse.
Facebook were quick to deny claims that they allow alcohol companies to target children. But how can anyone really control who has access to what on


Advertising leads to awareness
Many people would not know of all the different brands or different types of alcohol if it weren’t for the adverts. Whilst yes, everyone will be aware that alcohol exists, they would be less likely to try something new or would be unaware of it, if they hadn’t seen it advertised.

Out of sight out of mind

Following from the previous point, people would also be less aware of any offers, or promotions if it weren’t for the commercials. Seeing alcohol being advertised could be the fatal step back for a recovering alcoholic, or could be the first step towards someone starting to drink. People often say, ‘out of sight out of mind’. Following this principle we could assume that the ban of alcohol commercials would help to prevent people from consuming alcohol. After all, if the adverts weren’t succeeding in selling the products then why would people be spending ridiculous amounts of money on producing them? So they must in some way be influencing people to buy their products.

Alcohol abuse is an illness

Alcohol in itself isn’t a health issue, and in moderation is perfectly safe. It’s more down to the individual and their decision to drink responsibly or not. However, alcohol abuse is an illness, and how can you expect these people to keep control of their illness with advertisements being pushed in their faces. People don’t understand the effects alcohol can have on not just an individual but the people around them or just how serious this illness can be. The ban of alcohol commercials would not only help prevent people from starting drinking, but also support recovering alcoholics and therefore be beneficial.

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The Dangers of Alcohol Advertisement

March 3, 2013 by  
Filed under Health

There is no denying it. Alcohol is well and truly a well accepted part of modern society. A champagne toast at an event, a casual drink with friends, Holy Communion… All common occasions and the list goes on. This acceptance in our culture is certainly reflected in all forms of media advertising such as billboards, TV commercials, radio adverts, and posters. But is the use of media merely reflecting, or multiplying the desire for alcohol?

Alcohol advertising is one of the most controversial forms of marketing worldwide, running alongside tobacco advertisement for the prized place of “Most Highly Regulated”. This strict regulation has arisen from the need to balance the seller’s desire for profitability and market share, and what is good for the consumer. There is no surprise there is controversy, when one considers alcohol has been found to be the most misused drug globally, and its consumption being accountable for the death of 100,000 American citizens every year. As the purpose of advertising a product is to influence buyer behavior, there are many dangers that come with promoting the consumption of alcohol. One of these dangers is underage drinking.

In January 2006, a national study concluded that a greater exposure to alcohol advertising correlates with an increase in the amount of underage drinking. This study showed that in a local market, spending one extra dollar per capita above the national average on alcohol advertising, young people drank 3% more. This shows immediate effects on youth drinking, but knock on effects have also been shown. This has been shown with a study of 2,250 middle-school students in Los Angeles, which found that the more alcohol commercials watched by a seventh grade student, the more likely they are to drink alcohol in the next academic year. Long term effects shows the lasting influence adverts can have on adolescents.The Dangers of Alcohol Advertisement

Another danger is increased or dangerous drinking. If someone has a positive reaction to an alcohol advert, they are more likely to have positive expectancies about alcohol use. We have all seen adverts of people having fantastic and glamorous nights on the town, whilst drinking a certain brand of alcohol. Often it is a case of “I want what they have”, (the lifestyle, the fun, the enjoyment), and thus as the alcohol is the focus of the advert, this desire becomes associated with alcohol. This is supported with many areas of literature, varying from psychology to marketing, which support the concept that because of how the human brain develops, we are attracted to alcohol as it is associated with risky behavior and feel it could provide immediate gratification. This is the idealization of alcohol; the belief it will give you what you want in life, as that is what you have seen in adverts.

Alcohol advertisements not only idealizes alcohol, but normalizes it. Seeing photos, for example, of alcohol on a regular basis could make drinking seem like a common occurrence. If you were to see several pictures of people drinking in a park, it may implant the idea of drinking in a park. By establishing in your mind that you should be drinking regularly, outside of what you would already do, the frequency of when you would drink alcohol could increase. This normalization of alcohol is a danger, as it breaks down normal conventions and increases consumption. This could lead to have health implications.

It could be argued that not everyone is at risk of advertising influence and it is dependent on each individual; however the trends are still undeniable. The impact of advertising on radio and television audiences have even been recognized by the National Association of Broadcasters, who emphasize it cannot be overstated. It has been estimated that a complete ban of alcohol advertising could result in a reduction of 7,609 deaths from harmful drinking, plus a 16.4% drop in alcohol-related life-years lost. This fact alone really and truly highlights the extent of the danger of alcohol advertising, and shows how it could multiply the desire for alcohol rather than cater to it.

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