Thursday, 19 July 2012

Another ban on booze

A report by the House of Commons Health Select Committee argues that "serious consideration" should be given to banning alcohol advertising and the sponsorship of sporting events by drinks companies who it accuses of claiming "that advertising messages have no effect on public attitudes to alcohol or on consumption."

This is the same flawed logic that led to the ban on tobacco advertising. No one starts smoking or drinking because of an advert on TV or because a football team or Test side is sponsored by a brewery. The point of advertising is to create brand awareness/loyalty among people already buying or about to start buying your product rather than to stimulate consumption across the industry. The idea that banning the advertising of alcohol or the sponsorship of sport by alcohol companies will stop people drinking is as ludicrous as the idea that the ban on tobacco advertising and sponsorship has had any impact on the number of people who smoke.

1 comment:

  1. I've never been convinced by the argument that advertising only affects those who already use a product. As for those who are about to start buying your product, we can't say definitely that the decision to begin wasn't influenced, perhaps only in part, by advertising. I'm not aware of any objective evidence concerning this subject, so it's no more than guess work either way.

    One thing I do believe, however, is that restrictions on advertising are, from the government's point of view, a cheap way of appearing to do something without actually doing much at all, like minimum pricing or cutting the drink-drive limit. Education and non-judgmental information devoid of shock-horror hysteria (my local rag has a "shock report" on alcohol today, as it happens) is the method most likely to succeed, but as this is costly, it won't be tried. Simply banning things costs very little.