Sunday 5 July 2009

Drinks Industry Appeasement

Over at the Kitchen, The Filthy Smoker has laid out a comprehensive debunking of the myths on alcohol use/abuse promulgated by various public health deviants, and incubated by the inherent laziness of journalists.

Away from media hysteria and the medical lobby's hyperbole, the facts are plain: we are drinking less than we did 100 years ago, more than we did 50 years ago and less than we did 5 years ago. We are middle-weights in the European drinking league and the fact that we have a lot of knob-heads causing problems in our towns and cities at the weekend is because there a lot of knob-heads in the UK. The reasons for that is a whole other story, but it has nothing to do with advertising, happy hours or the price of lager.

As TFS' calm, referenced piece points out, the scope is there for the drinks industry to destroy all the puritan hysteria should they so choose.

So why are they folding their 'full house' in the face of the evidential equivalent of a pair of deuces from the healthists?

As an industry, alcoholic drinks makers and its marketers are fast becoming among the most demonised groups in the country, responsible for some of society’s worst ills - binge drinking, anti social behaviour and a growing public health crisis.

Or so some in Westminster and charities such as Alcohol Concern would have you believe.

Considering that Westminster and Alcohol Concern are one and the same, this should come as no surprise.

A group of MPs, as part of the Health Committee’s inquiry into alcohol misuse, took the Advertising Standards Authority and industry body The Portman Group to task over the effectiveness of the existing regulatory system in protecting the vulnerable from the ills of alcohol.

Although an evidence gathering committee, it was clear what some of its members would like to see - further exploration of additional scheduling restrictions, or perhaps complete prohibition.

Yes, you've spotted it. It's another step in the successful template laid out by anti-tobacco, as I explained in January.

3) On the back of junk science, nobble the opposing industry with advertising bans - Tobacco advertising completely banned, alcohol advertising is subject to very strict rules ... so far.

The similarities between what is being perpetrated on the drinks industry and what has been achieved by the antismoking nutters are uncanny.

The drinks industry too, represented by Portman Group chief executive David Poley was also pursued, and he fielded inferences that education, via industry funded charity Drinkaware, was not enough to curb alcohol abuse with health warnings on bottles and cans suggested as possible necessary additional measures.

As are the defences put up by their spokesmen.

Poley argued that it was “completely wrong” that education doesn’t work, adding that the “predominant affect of advertising is the encouragement of brand switching and not consumption.”

Heard that one before? You should have done, as it was the exact same defence used by the tobacco industry prior to the full advertising ban in 2003. And guess what? It didn't work.

89. Most of the tobacco companies have sought to challenge the Government's commitment to introduce an advertising ban in advance of the date for implementation set by the EU directive. The argument they have repeatedly advanced is that tobacco advertising does not increase consumption, it merely persuades smokers to switch brands. However, looking through the documents that the agencies themselves produced, this view is completely discredited.

As was also the case with tobacco advertising, the current self-regulation by the industry itself is simply not enough for the bansturbators. So why the drinks industry believe that more appeasement will work is hard to understand.

Project 10, the as yet little known about industry movement, which has been described as the alcohol industry’s equivalent of “Change4Life” is a good place to start. Due to be launched this year, the project is a good opportunity for the industry to engage with the Government, the current one or next, and avoid more stringent legislation.

I've got news for the brewers and distillers. You're wasting your money. Warning the public about the dangers of your products isn't going to stop these dimwitted miserablists. To them, such measures are merely an admission of guilt.

Take a tip from the tobacco industry, whatever you do is doomed. Government's 1965 agreement with tobacco was swept away once their emphasis changed, back in 2003.

88. The evidence we have reviewed from the advertising agencies leads us to conclude that, once more, voluntary agreements have served the industry well and the public badly. We recommend that any future regulation of marketing should be statutory ...

And don't think it will end with just banning advertising. One exemption in 2003 was point of sale displays. The reason being ...

POS advertising of tobacco products specifically does not "seek out" new consumers, principally because of the controlled retail environment in which tobacco products are usually sold. It is typically read or seen by those who are already seeking out tobacco products

Somehow, between 2003 and now, POS displays have become 'agressive' and 'powerful' and are being banned by the very same government. In short, they changed their minds. POS does 'seek out' customers, apparently.

It really is time that the drinks industry stood up for itself and was more positive in its defence. Their current back-sliding in the hope that the prohibitionists will just leave them alone, is naive in the extreme and simply won't work.


Anonymous said...

What amazes me is that Big Tobacco and Big Breweries (loaded) cow tow to these zealots and leave their customers(skint) to fight the battle
either they are going to stand as one behind us or the puritans will get their way and eventually there will be nothing left of either industry.

banned said...

C'mon Big Booze, tell the zealots to FUCK RIGHT OFF, loud & clear right now.

I don't want to be reduced to getting high on Domestos !

banned said...

And another thing, I was going to be a Tory and CUT my drinking but changed my mind and decided to INVEST in some alcohol.

Anonymous said...

The important difference between tobacco and alcohol is that you can't grow and cure tobacco in your kitchen, but that it is easy and very cheap to make high quality alcoholic drinks. Any kind of prohibition is therefore doomed to failure.