Considering the content of a some of my latest posts (here and here), it seemed timely that I ran across this article on alcohol and advertising. It is a rather detailed exploration of the factual statistics regarding the effects of alcohol advertising, counter-advertising, and restrictions. After three pages of facts and figures though I can give you the gist in one sentence:
Advertising doesn’t really affect the question of IF people will drink, but it does greatly influence WHAT they will drink.
Basically they have come to the same conclusion that I have and that history has proven (prohibition)… people are going to drink regardless of laws or restrictions. Alcohol is such a permanent part of our culture. The bright spot in all of this however is that although we may not be able to effectively reduce drinking through advertising techniques or restrictions but we can progressively alter drinking habits.
More importantly, there are real success stories here. The "designated driver" campaign of the 1980's was highly effective in making drunk driving socially unacceptable and in introducing the concept of a useful social role for non-drinkers. A year after the campaign was introduced, reported use of designated drivers rose 10 %.
So I’ll let the alcohol industry fight over what brand and type of alcohol people will buy. And me? I guess I’ll concentrate on educating people to consume safely, explaining the extent of its abuse, and continue trying to help those it has hurt the most. Most of the time, it’s a lonely battle.