A David versus Goliath event took place this week. An important day because it was to mark new restrictions on advertising. A wide range of interesting mainly female speakers spoke.
David versus Goliath
Norah Campbell, associate professor of critical marketing spoke about the astonishing detail, tools and techniques, alcohol marketing uses to get us to buy alcohol.
As human beings we have an overwhelming need to feel connected to others. Alcohol marketing creates these stories or myths which draw us in by creating the illusion we are connecting to others by drinking their brand.
Look Mammy, that lady is having so much fun
Norah also gave the real life example of her toddler pointing to an alcohol ad and shouting,
“Look Mammy, that lady is having so much fun”
Norah’s speech alone justified the event title of David versus Goliath
Irish people drink to connect to others
HSE research found the major reason why Irish people drink is to feel connected to others.
Perhaps this is why, coming up to Christmas, it becomes more difficult to manage our drinking. All the pressure to be happy and socialise. So it’s really important to start planning social events with like-minded friends who are conscious of their drinking and won’t binge drink.
The EU is led by big alcohol
Fiona Godfrey, Secretary General of the European Public Health Alliance spoke about what is going on at EU level. For the last 20 years, the EU has caved into pressure from the alcohol industry. Instead of protecting society from alcohol harm they adopted alcohol industry views.
This is called”regulatory capture”. When the Regulator takes the industry view rather then protect ordinary people. It’s what led to our terrible banking crisis.
Biggest nanny of the year
Marcella Corcoran Kennedy, former Minister of State for Health Promotion made the audience laugh describing how she won the “nanny in chief” award from an industry pressure group. She even went along to accept it. She’s taking some abuse trying to reduce deaths from alcohol harm.
It was good to see so many strong and powerful women speaking and taking a lead on reducing alcohol harm.
The Christmas rush has started
But, I was brought back to earth, when I got home. I found Tesco’s specials offers on an alcohol leaflet in my post box. A bottle of beer is now cheaper than a bottle of mineral water when you buy a slab of beer. At my local SuperValu, people were complaining the store had already run out of wine on one of their special offers. A very nice 4 bottles of wine pack for €30. Both of these advertising offers encourage you to drink more alcohol by buying more.
Start thinking ahead
We find December is usually a very quiet month for us as people get sucked into to all the Christmas drinking and Christmas activity. So it is really important to plan ahead to avoid drinking too much.
For example, If going to a pub or restaurant ring ahead to make sure they have some alcohol free options available. Have some low alcohol drinks in your home. Make a plan to talk to friends who are also trying to manage their drinking. Take time to do things you’ll enjoy. Find what works for you.