Alcohol advertising is expensively and meticulously researched. Alcohol companies are not likely to receive plaudits from their shareholders for reducing their present or future markets. Indeed, in September 2012, the marketing director of SAB Miller’s Australian Carlton United Brewers was quoted as saying:
I think the first thing is we need to find ways to work harder to make people drink more and drink at higher value…
These billboard advertisements, like other alcohol ads in locations passed by children, come and go. Miller Beer is not alone in emphasising that alcohol products are for adults. Is it too cynical to suggest that advertisements such as this, from a company so closely associated with the tobacco industry, may be helping to portray alcohol as “forbidden fruit” to which children and young people might aspire?
It is hard to credit that anybody other than the alcohol industry and its supporters takes seriously the self-regulatory codes that are supposed to protect children from alcohol advertising. Hence the current increasing pressure for regulation.
Surely, it is also time to ensure that any warning messages, whether about health or directed to children and young people, are developed by our health authorities, rather than by alcohol industry organisations, and global companies whose purpose is to sell as much of their product as possible.
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For a more thorough and evidence based look at what is actually going on to manipulate the young into stepping onto the Alcohol I.E.D, check out this offering from the Dalgarno Institute -
“Peeling Back the Label: Young People & Alcohol Advertising”