Advertising for the UK alcoholic beverages sector has gained far stricter guidelines and regulations over the last few decades. Do you agree that the advertising of alcohol should be restricted to such an extent and how far do you believe any governments should be able to control advertising?
In responses to a mass of alcoholic advertisement appears to catering to adults and youth, governments have paid more attention on this, for example, the Government has pledged to introduce a ‘comprehensive alcohol harm-reduction strategy’ in 2004, which is likely to place restrictions on drinking advertisement which encourage binge drinking among youth. Does all restrictions or guidelines published by governments like this that playing a part in controlling advertising? This essay will mainly concentrate on why such alcoholic advertisements should be restricted; and to what extent should any governments be able to control advertising.
Generally, people drinking because they are happy or not, maybe because they get a raise in their salary, or get a rough patch at work, or just enjoy a night out at pub and so on. Mintel’s exclusive research confirms that the majority of adults, three quarters in the 2003 survey, believe that there is nothing wrong with drinking in moderation, and far more people drink occasionally-and mostly at home-than do so on a regular basis outside the home(Clark, 2003). As for the youth drinking alcohol, most of them just out of curiosity, or bear heavy burden from not only the economy but also the psychology like experiencing a disappointed love affair. In addition, alcoholic advertisement is found to be fancy and attractive for young people, which leave the impression of fun, or cool if they were drinking.
According to health expert saying, since ancient times, drinking alcohol in moderation can be beneficial for our health, especially for red wine or beer, drinking a little per day is very good for preventing cardiovascular disease(Locke, 2011). But how about drinking too much? It may become easy for you to become emotional and suffer greatly from more other diseases, like chronic gastritis, alcoholism. Moreover,statistics show that “alcohol-related admissions to hospital in England have topped 1m in a year for the first time”. In other areas, up to 70% cases sent to the hospital were related to alcohol, and violence, accident and health issues that relating to alcohol are thought to cause thirty thousand premature deaths a year. Meanwhile, “prescriptions for treating alcohol abuse have also risen”(Meikle). Therefore, drinking too much is harmful for people both in physically and mentally.
So how do people know about alcohol, from which channel? Absolutely, media is the main place for alcohol industry spending their money, it is the main channel for people get new information about alcohol, and it is believe that exposure to alcoholic advertisement can increase consumption and influence people’s attitudes towards alcohol especially for young people as they have not formed the correct understanding of it.
In order to prevent the large amount of alcoholic advertising appears on media, over the last few decades, governments have set far stricter guidelines and regulations, in spite of this, the following table will disclose another side.
Figure1: main alcoholic advertising expenditure on media, 1998-2003*
| |£ m |Sales £ m | |1998 |219.7 |28,301 | |1999 |247.3 |29,808 | |2000 |228.6 |31,327 | |2001 |210.2 |32,637 | |2002 |233.7 |33,942 | |2003* |114.7 |34,870** |
*January to August
Source: Nielsen Media research/Mintel
The figure1 shows the advertising expenditure on alcohol, which discovers that during the 1998-2003, although the cost dropped almost half, the percentage of sales did not change a lot, conversely, it roses every year. According to an Kusserow(2001), who works on alcohol controlling revealed that regulations and standards placed on advertising control are almost invalid. Procedures are hard to follow through each department, the viability and effectiveness of huge criteria still have to be established. So Britain wants to balance of economy and health, the duty is not just the governments, and only depending on the polices of government is not far enough, alcoholic and other related-sectors should be self-regulated.
On one hand, it is necessary for government to set out a series of limitations on advertising of alcoholic drinks, such as limiting the timing of advertisements on television, ads can be only allowed to display after 10:00pm, trying to avoid youth from it. Meanwhile, prohibiting the liquor company being the sponsor in sport, as Professor Gilmore(2007) said that the limitations should include alcohol sponsorship in sport as the alcohol was being advertised 24 hours a day. Besides,the contents of advertisement should be restricted, images like violence and potential crime should be forbidden as it is easy for young people doing the same things that shows on television. On the other hand, because of the boundedness of government’s control, both public and private sectors have responsibilities to help to set out limitations to restrict its promotion and sales through ads. For examples, clubs and music pubs should abolish the unlimited drinking for a certain time only with the fixed money, people who are too young should not be permitted into this occasion. Besides, the price should be increased to reduce the alcohol consumption. In addition, manufacturer should develop a new production line, as an alternative to replace alcohol. Conclusion
Now, alcohol has abounded in UK’s society, being consumed by both adults and youth, which forms an unbalanced condition between economy and health. The mass advertising appears on television or networks or other channels is the main selling way. Naturally, to control alcoholic advertising is becoming more and more important in UK. But obviously, the actual effects that caused by government’s policy is not big, so alcohol-related sector should play an increasing important part in controlling alcoholic advertising, then it must be more powerful and effectiveness.
Brown, K. (2007) National Alcohol Harm Reduction Strategy [WWW] Institute of Alcohol Studies. Available from: http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/nighttime/policy/nahr.html [Accessed 25/08/12]
Clark, T. (2003) Drinks market: UK, 2003. [WWW] Mintel Group Ltd. Available from: http://www.mintel.com/drinksmarket [Accessed 18/08/12]
Department of Health&Human Services(2001) Youth and Alcohol. USA: Department of Health&Human Services.
Gilmore, I. (2007) Britain’s ‘top doctor’ calls for total ban on alcohol advertising [WWW] Institute of Alcohol Studies. Available from:http://www.ias.org.uk/resources/publications/alcoholalert/alert200701/al200701_p10.html [Accessed 27/08/12]
Grube, J. (1971) Main alcoholic advertising expenditure on media [Diagram]. In: Clark, T. (2003). Drinks market: UK. London: Mintel Group Ltd.
Locke, T. (2011) Moderate alcohol drinking offers heart disease protection [WWW] Heart disease health centre. Available from:http://www.webmd.boots.com/heart-disease/news/20110222/moderate-alcohol-drinking-offers-heart-disease-protection [Accessed 20/08/12]
Meikle, J. (2011) Alcohol-related hospital admissions at record high. Guardian, 26th May, p,1.