Time at the bar for alcohol advertising – Or is it?

It’s bold move by the British Medial Association to call for a blanket ban on alcohol advertising. They are backed by organisations like the Department of Health, Alcohol Concern and the British Liver Trust.

The crux of the argument lies with the NHS approximately spending £3billion a year treating injury and illness linked to drink.

As you would expect, there’s a lobby group on the other side of the debate. Step in the Wine and Spirits Trade Association saying:

“the measures proposed by the BMA would hit the pockets of millions of consumers and threaten the livelihoods of thousands of people working in the drinks industry, media, advertising and television.”

A fair point.

Enter another lobby group. This time the UK advertisers trade body, ISBA calling the report a ‘headline-grabbing stunt’ and saying:

“The BMA clearly recognises the problems but has failed to come up with serious recommendations other than eye-catching calls for bans and price rises.”

“There are many factors affecting the misuse of alcohol by a minority of drinkers. Government and business recognise the need for action. Business is investing in a campaign to tackle misuse.”

Hmmm…. Isn’t headline grabbing stunts what advertisers do?

It’s almost as if they are saying banning advertising won’t change lifestyle choices. But advertising DOES change lifestyle choices. Ad agencies spend lots of time convincing clients they do in order to justify budgets. Ok it’s simplistic just to imply banning ads will solve the problem but not to even acknowledge a ban would have an impact, strikes me as a bit disingenuous.

Will anything ever come from this? I seriously doubt it.

Don’t get me wrong, I laud the BMA for taking such as strong stance. They see first hand the dangers of what alcohol can do. However in the face strong opposition and lack of any strong evidence to link an advertising ban and a reduction in alcohol related injuries, we’ll be seeing those annoying WKD ads for many years to come

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