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.

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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.

What a Super Bowl! How Much Tragedy?

First and foremost, I don’t want to come across here as some sort of puritanical killjoy. Having a couple of beers with friends while watching a great game, for those without alcohol problems, is one of life’s real simple pleasures. Social, good-time drinking, in moderation is OK by me.

The numbers aren’t yet out, but using past Super Sunday’s as a pretty good predictor, we know that yesterday more people died in alcohol related traffic accidents, more wives were assaulted and more people ended up overdosing on alcohol – than on any other day of the year.

Yes, watching the Super Bowl has become America’s booziest event, with all the carnage associated.

And all this tragedy, far removed from any reality presented during outrageously expensive Budweiser ad slots, should maybe give us pause for thought.

Not that we were thinking, too busy between plays watching Anheuser Busch’s estimated 25 million dollars spent on 10 beer-ad slots, with more than twice as many beer ads shown than for any other type of product.

And watching with us, an estimated 33 million kids – the future beer buyers of America, and for all the industry’s talk of self regulation, a market segment they drool over.

Research has shown that kids shown beer ads report thinking about drinking in a more favorable light than kids not shown beer ads. Research also shows that more binge drinkers drink beer, by far, than any other type of alcohol.

Super Bowl parties embody excess, with over indulgence the norm; and when the clock ticks down and a new champ gets crowned, good-times transform (for too many of us) into something much much sadder.

Drinking is OK; binge drinking is not, problem drinking is not, driving drunk is not, beating your wife while drunk is not…

Twenty-five million dollars was not spent to entertain us – it was spent to have us drink more. It influences our children to drink earlier, and more, and it makes it awfully tough for those in recovery to stay true to their dreams of a better life.

Watching a bear drink beer amuses, watching an angry drunk drink beer doesn’t – and unfortunately, we know which of those scenarios happens every day.

The beer industry is quite happy to self-regulate itself – do they deserve such trust? Can they really want us all to drink as responsibly as they claim when that could only mean a great loss of profits? I mean, 30 million problem drinkers can drink a lot of Bud, and they’re certainly "don’t know when to say when".

Are beer ads what we really want?

First and foremost, I don’t want to come across here as some sort of puritanical killjoy. Having a couple of beers with friends while watching a great game, for those without alcohol problems, is one of life’s real simple pleasures. Social, good-time drinking, in moderation is OK by me.

The numbers aren’t yet out, but using past Super Sunday’s as a pretty good predictor, we know that yesterday more people died in alcohol related traffic accidents, more wives were assaulted and more people ended up overdosing on alcohol – than on any other day of the year.

Yes, watching the Super Bowl has become America’s booziest event, with all the carnage associated.

And all this tragedy, far removed from any reality presented during outrageously expensive Budweiser ad slots, should maybe give us pause for thought.

Not that we were thinking, too busy between plays watching Anheuser Busch’s estimated 25 million dollars spent on 10 beer-ad slots, with more than twice as many beer ads shown than for any other type of product.

And watching with us, an estimated 33 million kids – the future beer buyers of America, and for all the industry’s talk of self regulation, a market segment they drool over.

Research has shown that kids shown beer ads report thinking about drinking in a more favorable light than kids not shown beer ads. Research also shows that more binge drinkers drink beer, by far, than any other type of alcohol.

Super Bowl parties embody excess, with over indulgence the norm; and when the clock ticks down and a new champ gets crowned, good-times transform (for too many of us) into something much much sadder.

Drinking is OK; binge drinking is not, problem drinking is not, driving drunk is not, beating your wife while drunk is not…

Twenty-five million dollars was not spent to entertain us – it was spent to have us drink more. It influences our children to drink earlier, and more, and it makes it awfully tough for those in recovery to stay true to their dreams of a better life.

Watching a bear drink beer amuses, watching an angry drunk drink beer doesn’t – and unfortunately, we know which of those scenarios happens every day.

The beer industry is quite happy to self-regulate itself – do they deserve such trust? Can they really want us all to drink as responsibly as they claim when that could only mean a great loss of profits? I mean, 30 million problem drinkers can drink a lot of Bud, and they’re certainly "don’t know when to say when".

Are beer ads what we really want?