Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Why Pretend?

Britain's biggest drink companies have launched a £100m advertising campaign to try to make under 25s pace themselves on a night out.

Posters will start to appear on billboards and phone boxes telling readers to eat before drinking and alternate pints of beer with the odd pint of water.

The campaign has been designed by Drinkaware, a charity funded by the alcohol industry and paid for by 35 firms that make or sell alcoholic drinks.

The drinks industry have just wasted £100m then.

Politicians have said they will support the new advertising campaign for a year and then carry out an independent review of its effectiveness.

If the adverts don't work, then it is possible the government will push through stricter rules to reduce the amount of alcohol people are drinking.

These could include a ban on cheap booze offers in both bars and supermarkets and tougher restrictions on advertising alcoholic drinks.

Some of the measures are already being put in place in Scotland.

The review will not be independent. It will conclude that the adverts don't work. The drinks companies will be accused of 'not doing enough', and government will bring in bans and restrictions they have always intended to implement.

Why pretend otherwise?


subrosa said...

You do a good argument DP. The drinks companies have quite a bit of leverage in this though and I'm quite sure they will provide evidence of their efforts.

Problem is - will CallMeDave listen?

BTS said...

I already pace myself when I'm drinking. I only drink one bottle of vodka at a time..

Curmudgeon said...

The drinks companies know very well it won't work in any meaningful sense, and they're only doing it as a means of warding off stricter mandatory action by government.

Companies are in business to make money, not specifically to sell product X, and that is why those marketing products that some disapprove of will never make a strong, principled stand in defence of their particular business.

Have tobacco companies done this seriously? Or motor manufacturers? What they are doing is engaging in a strategy of controlled retreat, which from the company's point of view, if not the consumer's, makes sense.

The best they can hope for is that the political climate will move on to something else and leave their particular product alone.

The threat of prohibition, or at least local option, was very real in the UK in the first two decades of the last century. Eventually it was defused, but it took until the late 1950s for the drinks trade to make any significant political advances.

Junican said...

I very much agree with what Curmudgeon said. In fact, this is probably the best single post that I have seen for a long time - simple and straight to the point. I too do not understand why the motor industry, tobacco industry, and others are not defending their corner. It could be that it is in their interest to keep quiet and expand their markets into unregulated areas - for the time being. In all probability, these companies will eventually diversify into some other area. The tobacco industry tried to argue in the US courts that there was no proof that tobacco, in itself, caused lung cancer. They tried to prove that there was no connection. The courts did not accept this arguement - purely on a statistical basis. Also, the court impied that the tobacco companies had 'fixed' the evidence (because the staistics show otherwise).
Any tobacco company executive with any sense would, thereafter, say to himself, "From now on we express no opinion. Buy our product if you wish or don't.If the powers-that-be want to ban it, let them - let us then see what happens".

I could go further, but I feel that I have already used too many words, and so I will just stop.