Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Is Advertising to Blame for Binge Drinking?

After watching the news yesterday and doctors asking to bring about a ban on advertising alcohol and drinks promotions, I've been asking myself is advertising to blame for young people's binge drinking?

I can't see why advertisers should take all the blame, I mean its not like we as humans don't have any self control. I do also believe that not all advertising is effective so it is convenient that the government has decided it is all to do with advertising and not to do with the fact alcohol can be bought so cheaply, or that by putting age restrictions on these products they entice young people.

Today the BMA has made reccomendations that the branding of alcohol not be so specific to young people or to "not appeal" to young people.

In my opinion the anti-drinking: Alcohol Know Your Limits: "you wouldn't start your night like this so why end it this way" are much more effective and I actually take more note of these adverts in comparison to the smirnoff moscow mule circus themed adverts.

What do you think?


  1. This is a really interesting subject- and one that almost forces us as designers to make an ethical choice about, for example if we were given the brief to create adverts for alcohol and/or drinks promotions, do we do it or not? Or if we do, to what extent do we advocate binge drinking?

    Basically, like you said, it's society more than advertisers to blame anyway. I wrote in my blog about how advertising alcohol brands mainly encourages people to choose that brand over another, and not increase the consumption. The government would be better focussing on cheap booze deals; even I've noticed it's ridiculous. For example, in Bourbon a couple of months ago I didn't want to drink that night, and was charged £2.50 for a half pint of coke. The bar worker was trying to push a deal on me where I could get a Southern Comfort and coke for £1.

  2. I think it ridiculous to soley blame advertising for the rise of the binge drinking culture in Britain. For one, advertising has alway been around and yet the rate the nation is drinking is increasing. Surley if it were advertising the rate would be steadily high.

    And as you said Kim, people have free will. It is not the adverts that are the problem it is the excess that people are using alcohol to. Advertising can not be blamed for peoples choices. For example...if you saw an advert for a chainsaw would you buy it and use it to commit a murder? no. It has how people use alcohol that needs to be addressed not why they are buying it.

  3. I couldn't agree more with you both! But they also linked advertising alcohol to advertising with sports, for example football.

    Is the advertising of alcohol in between football matches to do with the high levels of hooliganism? In this case again I believe free will is still the main factor in choosing whether to drink or not, but I think sport patriocism is another large factor and put together with alcohol creates hooligans..?

    I heard one reporter say to an advertiser: "So aslong as you sell you don't care?"

    That is exactly it! The advertisers include the health warnings, they, like you said kay are not forcing you to go out and drink copious amounts! Exactly advertising a chainsaw would not make you go out buy one and kill lots of people. Its ludicrious!

  4. I agree, it's like people want to blame everybody and everything else but themselves. If the adverts weren't there, people would still buy alcohol, just like cigarettes, sales for them are still huge without the adverts.