Defence against the dark arts

Stealing from Harry Potter and those who taught ‘defence against the dark arts’ I wanted to close this Alcohol Awareness Week with two contrasting views.

defence against the dark artsPresenting the Scottish First Minister opening speech at the the Global Alcohol Policy Conference in Edinburgh in October which was both eloquent and steadfast with the BBC responding with praise for its “political courage” in attempting to introduce a minimum unit price (MUP) for alcohol.  She spoke not just about MUP but other approaches too such as a ban on advertising after the watershed and the creeping presence of alcohol advertising on all media platforms.

It is well worth your time to listen and I continue to support their efforts as both a nurse and public health professional, a parent and member of society and as someone in recovery from alcohol dependence.

And lets face it’s needed as this also appeared in the news the same day:

Strongbow ad banned for suggesting that alcohol is more important than relationships

Heineken, which owns Strongbow, posted the ad on its YouTube channel. It was based around the idea of a spoof awards ceremony in which the winner, Carl, gave a speech after accepting an award called “best Strongbow as my other half”.

A message read out on Carl’s behalf said: “I dedicate this award to my family, to all the lovely creatures out there, and to my other half. I love you. I’ve loved you since the first day I met ya. And I always will do. My dear Strongbow.”

But the ad drew fire from organisations such as The Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) and Alcohol Concern for showing alcohol as indispensable.

I was really pleased to see that the story was picked up by the BBC children’s news programme Newsbeat which widened it’s reporting on the story:

Strongbow’s YouTube spoof and seven other banned alcohol adverts

Now I get that Heineken said this is a spoof and a parody but how does a young person watching on Youtube know this?  And it seems utterly ironic to me that cider, which used to be know as ‘tramp juice’, is now being spoofed in this way.  There are plenty of people homeless and sleeping rough because cider has literally destroyed all their real human relationships because of addiction.  Without wishing to sound all Mary Whitehouse to think that this is funny is beyond a joke and pretty sick ………..

Oh and the drinks industry is also busy trying to rebrand ‘binge drinking’ (seeing as it has such negative connotations these days) as ‘high energy’ drinking.  To quote The Independent:

Britons were also more likely to  binge drink with 15 per cent saying they had at least one “high energy” night of drinking per week.

This quote is lifted from a report in which “6,500 people across the UK, Germany, Australia, America and China were interviewed by Maxus, a media agency for the drinks industry, who found that Britons had the most liberal attitude to alcohol.” (bolding is mine)

Defence against the dark arts indeed ………

5 thoughts on “Defence against the dark arts

  1. Hi Lucy!
    How on earth is binge drinking and high energy connected?
    I guess the day after “high energy” drinking would be “low energy”.
    I looked at the ads. Very interesting.
    I will have to look at what the our FCC decides what goes on the air in terms of alcohol.
    I think it’s only profanity and nudity.
    But I don’t know for sure.
    xo
    Wendy

    1. Who knows Wendy but if I try and climb into the mind of an alcohol marketeer – high energy will resonate with the ‘yoof’ and will make us ‘oldies’ feel younger 😉 And as Lori said it suggests healthy as in high energy exercise – good god ……

    2. Correct! No obscenity or indecency, whatever those are (I know ’em when I see ’em…), and you also can’t market to children. Plus, there’s some sort of longstanding rule among American broadcasters that people can’t actually *drink* in an ad. They can hold the beer, they can toast with the beer, they can do pretty much anything with it except take a sip of it.

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