Are the French Smarter Than Us? On Alcohol Advertising They Sure Are

You can tell the world about your product, about why it tastes better or about how it was made, but in France at least, if you’re selling alcohol, that’s about all you can say.

You cannot imply that drinking makes life more fun. You cannot imply that alcohol is cool, or sophisticated or stylish or worldly and you cannot imply that by drinking alcohol you will become better looking, more likable or successful. In short, everything that American alcohol advertisers do – they cannot.

And the French enforce it too, recent rulings against Heineken and Moet Champagne for minor transgressions shows the teeth in this legislation of public health promotion.

And they’re smart to do so, as studies consistently and conclusively show that alcohol advertising does predispose kids to drink, and helps people feel OK about drinking to excess.

We shouldn’t ban alcohol advertising, but this time – the French have hit a home run, and we should have the courage to follow in their footsteps.

Advertisements

You can tell the world about your product, about why it tastes better or about how it was made, but in France at least, if you’re selling alcohol, that’s about all you can say.

You cannot imply that drinking makes life more fun. You cannot imply that alcohol is cool, or sophisticated or stylish or worldly and you cannot imply that by drinking alcohol you will become better looking, more likable or successful. In short, everything that American alcohol advertisers do – they cannot.

And the French enforce it too, recent rulings against Heineken and Moet Champagne for minor transgressions shows the teeth in this legislation of public health promotion.

And they’re smart to do so, as studies consistently and conclusively show that alcohol advertising does predispose kids to drink, and helps people feel OK about drinking to excess.

We shouldn’t ban alcohol advertising, but this time – the French have hit a home run, and we should have the courage to follow in their footsteps.

2009 Addiction Treatment Budget Cuts – Prison Lobby Cheers; Predicts Record Profits to Come

They say that every dollar spent on addiction treatment and prevention yields a 7 dollar societal dividend. Hey – you gotta’ spend money to make money right…

Or maybe not – as the Bush administration must like money, yet once again they have cut total spending on addiction treatment and prevention programs; shaving an additional few hundred million or so from the 2009 budget. They must have a master plan – those crafty buggers. They must know something we don’t!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • SAMHSA, the main recipient of federal funding, will receive 70 million less in 2009 than in 2008.
  • The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment will lose 63 million.
  • The Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention will lose 36 million.
  • The Center for Mental Health Services will limp on, short 126 million.
  • The Safe and Drug Free Schools Program will lose 194.8 million in 2009 (but how important are safe and drug free schools anyway?)

It’s not all bad though; the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse will actually see a funding increase in 2009 – that’s right, an extra four hundred thousand dollars…

Well, it seems crazy to me – but when you consider that spending on drug related law enforcement has increased a whopping 57% during the last 8 years (treatment is up 3% – a below inflationary increase) I guess they’ve just decided on going ahead with Plan B…throwing EVERYONE in jail!

Americans now jail 1 in 100 – A record high, in any country, and at any time.

 

They say that every dollar spent on addiction treatment and prevention yields a 7 dollar societal dividend. Hey – you gotta’ spend money to make money right…

Or maybe not – as the Bush administration must like money, yet once again they have cut total spending on addiction treatment and prevention programs; shaving an additional few hundred million or so from the 2009 budget. They must have a master plan – those crafty buggers. They must know something we don’t!

Here are some of the highlights:

  • SAMHSA, the main recipient of federal funding, will receive 70 million less in 2009 than in 2008.
  • The Center for Substance Abuse Treatment will lose 63 million.
  • The Center for Substance Abuse and Prevention will lose 36 million.
  • The Center for Mental Health Services will limp on, short 126 million.
  • The Safe and Drug Free Schools Program will lose 194.8 million in 2009 (but how important are safe and drug free schools anyway?)

It’s not all bad though; the National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse will actually see a funding increase in 2009 – that’s right, an extra four hundred thousand dollars…

Well, it seems crazy to me – but when you consider that spending on drug related law enforcement has increased a whopping 57% during the last 8 years (treatment is up 3% – a below inflationary increase) I guess they’ve just decided on going ahead with Plan B…throwing EVERYONE in jail!

Americans now jail 1 in 100 – A record high, in any country, and at any time.

 

Alcoholics; Lets Lock Them Up – Seriously

At the end of the day – whether or not a person wants to drink too much, or use drugs, is pretty much a personal decision – right? It’s their body, it’s their life – it’s their decision.

Maybe – it’s certainly something that a concerned family may hear when attempting to convince an addict to get help. It’s certainly something someone trapped in the self-delusion of the disease might spout – and even believe.

 But is it true?

If you drink alone, hermit like in a remote cabin, never seeing another soul – then OK, it’s your business. You hurt no one but yourself, and it’s no one’s business but yours.

So alcoholic hermits aside…

  • If you drink to a stupor each night in front of your family, in front of your kids – even if you do no immediate wrongs – you model something terrible. Do you have the right? Does it become the family’s business at that point?
  • If your substance use prevents you from getting or keeping a job, from providing for yourself and your family – do those that would subsidize your existence have the right to tell you what you can and cannot put in your body?

We live together, as family, as a community, and our actions and choices affect those around us. Those that drink or drug heavily impact the rest of us, whether painfully in the family, or through social costs in the community. We have the right to demand change – it is our business, it’s everyone’s business.

We don’t have the right to demand impossible change though. Addiction is a disease, entrenched and enduring, and you can’t just will it away. We can demand change in the family, we can demand change in the community, but first, we must provide a means for change.

We, as a society, can say that alcoholic level drinking is unacceptable. It does harm to more than just the individual, and we are not going to stand for it anymore. We can divert some of the ludicrous quantities of money going into our prison system (we now incarcerate 1 in 100) and build 1000 new treatment centers – and we can make people use them. If we can put someone in jail for the possession of a small quantity of crack – why can’t we save through enforced healthcare those that would abuse even legal drugs, such as alcohol?

It would save money in the long run – it would save lives right away. Sure it’s an ethical minefield, and committing people to hospitals does sound a bit scary – a bit too "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" for comfort. It wouldn’t be easy. But we could do it and maybe we should.

At the end of the day – whether or not a person wants to drink too much, or use drugs, is pretty much a personal decision – right? It’s their body, it’s their life – it’s their decision.

Maybe – it’s certainly something that a concerned family may hear when attempting to convince an addict to get help. It’s certainly something someone trapped in the self-delusion of the disease might spout – and even believe.

 But is it true?

If you drink alone, hermit like in a remote cabin, never seeing another soul – then OK, it’s your business. You hurt no one but yourself, and it’s no one’s business but yours.

So alcoholic hermits aside…

  • If you drink to a stupor each night in front of your family, in front of your kids – even if you do no immediate wrongs – you model something terrible. Do you have the right? Does it become the family’s business at that point?
  • If your substance use prevents you from getting or keeping a job, from providing for yourself and your family – do those that would subsidize your existence have the right to tell you what you can and cannot put in your body?

We live together, as family, as a community, and our actions and choices affect those around us. Those that drink or drug heavily impact the rest of us, whether painfully in the family, or through social costs in the community. We have the right to demand change – it is our business, it’s everyone’s business.

We don’t have the right to demand impossible change though. Addiction is a disease, entrenched and enduring, and you can’t just will it away. We can demand change in the family, we can demand change in the community, but first, we must provide a means for change.

We, as a society, can say that alcoholic level drinking is unacceptable. It does harm to more than just the individual, and we are not going to stand for it anymore. We can divert some of the ludicrous quantities of money going into our prison system (we now incarcerate 1 in 100) and build 1000 new treatment centers – and we can make people use them. If we can put someone in jail for the possession of a small quantity of crack – why can’t we save through enforced healthcare those that would abuse even legal drugs, such as alcohol?

It would save money in the long run – it would save lives right away. Sure it’s an ethical minefield, and committing people to hospitals does sound a bit scary – a bit too "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest" for comfort. It wouldn’t be easy. But we could do it and maybe we should.

Know When to Say When…To Public Service Beer Ads

Beer companies, all heart, sometimes they care too much.

They worry about us, want us all to drive safe, talk to our kids on the dangers of drink and, gosh darn it, to know when to say when. I’m tired of it. Enough already…the shareholders deserve better!

  • What kind of business retard tries to stop underage drinking? Those kids are great customers. Underage drinkers forked out an estimated 5 billion last year! We need strong CEO’s with vision; marketing execs with the balls to come out and target kids explicitly. Get some furry mascots as brand symbols, talking bears or something – that would probably work…
  • "Know when to say when" – how’s that gonna’ make any money? The hardest drinking 10% chug down almost half of all the beer you can make (43%) – you’ve got to get those guys drinking more, or at least get more people drinking like them! Maybe run a few ads with good looking babes drinking beer and playing volleyball or something.
  • Think when you drink – There’s another profit stinker for you right there. 60% of all beer sold is drunk in binge quantities, hmm – if only we could keep people awake long enough to drink more in a session…HEY, I KNOW – WE COULD PUT CAFFEINE IN THE BEER!!!! Market it like an energy drink or something and kids would love it too!

Enough

For every one ad counseling responsible drinking, there are well over 200 promoting drinking. For every $1 spent on public health ads, $99 are spent on talking bears drinking Bud. Beer companies need young drinkers, they’d die without them. Profits rest almost entirely in the underage, and heavy to alcoholic use consumer – that’s the meat and potatoes of the market, and that’s who they want.

Beer companies just don’t make money by convincing people to drink less beer. We know it and it’s our job to stop them, or at least limit the harms they do; and by allowing them the odd public service ad slot, we allow a platform from which they shellac themselves with respectability. So let’s get rid of these ads, they don’t work anyway; studies have shown that consumers don’t find them effective or influential, and they may well do more harm than good.

Beer companies, all heart, sometimes they care too much.

They worry about us, want us all to drive safe, talk to our kids on the dangers of drink and, gosh darn it, to know when to say when. I’m tired of it. Enough already…the shareholders deserve better!

  • What kind of business retard tries to stop underage drinking? Those kids are great customers. Underage drinkers forked out an estimated 5 billion last year! We need strong CEO’s with vision; marketing execs with the balls to come out and target kids explicitly. Get some furry mascots as brand symbols, talking bears or something – that would probably work…
  • "Know when to say when" – how’s that gonna’ make any money? The hardest drinking 10% chug down almost half of all the beer you can make (43%) – you’ve got to get those guys drinking more, or at least get more people drinking like them! Maybe run a few ads with good looking babes drinking beer and playing volleyball or something.
  • Think when you drink – There’s another profit stinker for you right there. 60% of all beer sold is drunk in binge quantities, hmm – if only we could keep people awake long enough to drink more in a session…HEY, I KNOW – WE COULD PUT CAFFEINE IN THE BEER!!!! Market it like an energy drink or something and kids would love it too!

Enough

For every one ad counseling responsible drinking, there are well over 200 promoting drinking. For every $1 spent on public health ads, $99 are spent on talking bears drinking Bud. Beer companies need young drinkers, they’d die without them. Profits rest almost entirely in the underage, and heavy to alcoholic use consumer – that’s the meat and potatoes of the market, and that’s who they want.

Beer companies just don’t make money by convincing people to drink less beer. We know it and it’s our job to stop them, or at least limit the harms they do; and by allowing them the odd public service ad slot, we allow a platform from which they shellac themselves with respectability. So let’s get rid of these ads, they don’t work anyway; studies have shown that consumers don’t find them effective or influential, and they may well do more harm than good.