The advertisement of alcohol product means the spreading of commercial messages concerning alcohol to the target groups. Alcohol advertisers make use of wide range of media, including the internet and an interactive texting. When well integrated, sponsorships, competitions and pricing strategies are some of the important promotional methods which are used by the companies to facilitate product advertisement. Advertisers usually make use of the music and some sports industries to promote alcohol products. This research paper will examine the social responsibility of advertising alcohol, the supporting issues of advertising alcohol as well as the opposing issues. Our thesis statement will be the opposing issues of advertising alcohol.
Objectives of advertising alcohol
The alcohol companies carry out advertisement activities with the following objectives.
- Informative Objective
This is one of the most crucial objectives as it is directed to inform the targeted group about the existence of the new alcohol product in the market. Advertisement also gives detailed information about the price, functioning and even cost standards of the product. It promotes customer awareness about the product and even the company among the targeted people. Most alcohol companies achieve this objective through launching and re-launching of their new and the existing products.
- Persuasive Objective
Since the alcohol companies face stiff competitions from others, they make use of persuasive marketing with the aim of overcoming the competitors. They tend to use methods of comparison advertising where they compare their alcohol products with other companies’ products. This is a very common practice as the companies with similar brandies try to proof that their products are better their rivals’ products.
- Reminder Objectives
Some alcohol companies continue advertising the brandies that are already in the market with the aim of reminding the customers about the product. Such advertising strategy is called reminder advertisement and it is used to maintain the company’s position in the market.
- Advertising Message
An attracting message to the target group is the most indispensable part of an advertisement campaigns without which the company cannot succeed in achieving its set goals. Due to extremely large amount of information that is given to the customers, impressing a consumer is not easy thus the persistent advertising messages are of great importance in such situations.
- Effective communication
This is sometimes the base of advertisement because influences the consumers emotional level on the company’s alcohol product in the market.
- Making profits
The main advertising objectives are to secure, develop, make changes and create advertisements to sell the company’s product. Through this, the alcohol companies aims at generating the maximum profits possible.
The above objectives makes helps the alcohol companies’ products to gain maximum success in a competitive market. Having considered these objectives this essay discusses the pros and cons alcohol advertisement considering the social responsibility of the activity. Also, the essay will discuss the corporate social responsibility of some alcohol selling companies in the world.
The pros of alcohol advertisement
The advertisement of alcohol portrays alcohol consumption as an attractive, rewarding, and an acceptable. Advertising creates and strengthens favorable attitudes towards the drinking of alcohol. Due to this the exposed target people forms positive values concerning the amount, circumstances, and gains of alcohol and drinking. Many alcohol advertisement aspects present propitious and promising portrayals of alcohol. Examples of the associated benefits include refreshment, romance, grace, social approval and social friendly comradeship (Johanson E. and Petterson C.2005)
The alcohol advertisement makes people to develop some attitudes towards alcohol and alcohol drinking. For example the targeted people associates drinking with escape from bad psychological situations and social interaction. After seeing an escape advertisement, the target group feels that alcohol drinking will help them escape their ordinary situations and move to a better situation with desirable comfort. On seeing an advertisement associated with social topic containing an affiliation among friends, people concludes that alcohol drinking makes drinking social gatherings more pleasant and enjoyable. They also think that social romance aspect brought out during advertisement helps in making the evenings more romantic.
Advertising creates and strengthens preferences for the advertised alcohol brands relative to competing brands in the same category. There are many positive evaluations that come out after the repeated advertisement of a certain alcohol brand has been made, very attractive symbols and highly rewarding benefits associated with the brand, and claims of brand quality. Preference is considered fundamentally as an attitudinal feeling of suitability. Through advertising, people develop very stronger liking and they feel more confident on their favorite brands ( Johanson E. and Petterson C.2005)
There are several justifications why alcohol advertising is expected to produce drinking by youth. Advertisement reduces the emotional resistances to the consumption of alcohol, by portraying the alcohol drinking activity as a socially welcomed and it is a norm in the society. Therefore alcohol advertisement convinces the people who are non-drinkers or drinkers to start consuming more alcohol, by portraying worthwhile results such as sociability, masculinity, and escape. Also the celebrated and attractive characters that appear in alcohol adverts play a major role in influencing the non-drinkers to start consuming alcohol. Advertising stimulates the regular drinkers to acquire and also drink more alcohol, by a plain reminder to the act.
The social life of most employed people is admirable. The advertisement of alcohol is a task that needs the involvement of many people. They carry out the research, design and delivery of the adverts. These people in turn get payments which they use to improve their living standards and it is evident that advertisement provides employment to many peopl.
The arguments for the abolition of alcohol advertisement are not based on good intentions because alcohol abuse is not similar to alcohol use. Moderate drinking of alcohol is good and it offers some health benefits such as reducing the danger of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and mental deterioration in people in their old ages. Therefore, the complete stopping of alcohol drinking is not the appropriate step in the fight against alcohol abuse. There is no practical evidence that links alcohol abuse to alcohol advertisement. With respect to this, some people claim that there is no connection between advertising and an increase in alcohol abuse in the world.
More generally, the primitive conception that advertising bans would contribute in reducing the alcohol consumption is baseless. During 20-th century prohibition time, the drinking of alcohol increased, even though there were total ban of alcoholic products. It is much easier to regulate the alcohol advertisement, and incorporate promotion of the anti-drinking advertising. In other words, using advertisement as the form of public announcements about liability associated with excessive drinking would be a more effective and efficient method of promoting responsible drinking among the targeted groups.
The most alcohol brands that are consumed in the world are not advertised. This is happens mostly in the developing countries where most of the consumed alcoholic products are illicitly produced or brewed in different homes. This shows that the products that are produced commercially and which are advertised are not accessible to many people in these countries, especially the young. The commercially produced alcohol products have higher production costs which are not associated with local homemade brews. Due to this reason, the commercially produced alcoholic products are the best for consumption. They do not have many health risks as opposed to illicit brew and they are the best to be consumed by the young people and hence the advertisement of the products to promote the awareness among the youth is highly appreciated. (Jernigan D.2000)
Finally, alcoholic products have been a part of most human cultures throughout the history. During this time, there are numerous social circumstances that create suitable conditions that influence people to start consuming alcohol. Companies certainly wish to promote some brands and make the targeted people to be aware of lower-priced new products in the market. This does not mean that they make people to drink or to abuse alcohol but to protect their market shares against the small alcohol producers. Therefore the alcohol consumers will be disadvantaged if the advertisement is completely banned (Marin institute.2009)
The cons of alcohol advertisement
On the other hand, the advertisements of alcoholic products are more dangerous to the society because alcohol is associated with many negative impacts to the people ranging from young people to old. If people are persuaded by interesting advertisements and engage in consuming alcohol on daily basis, they remain vulnerable to the adverse effects of the same. The negative effects of alcohol range from social to physical. Some of these effects are sort term while others are long term and they are as follows (World Health Organisation).
- Liver diseases
Statistics have shown that most alcohol consumers in the world develop dangerous liver diseases (cirrhosis).this is a very common negative impact of alcohol addiction and abuse. Also they suffer from hepatitis which leads to the inflammation of the liver. These people experience severe pains, vomiting, abdominal pains and even some fevers and the end up dying if they continue taking the alcohol (World Health Organisation)
Those people who consume much alcohol develop different types of cancer. For example, women addicts suffer from breast cancer and they end up dying.
- Damage of the brain
Alcohol addicts experiences negative impacts on the brain which manifests itself in many forms. Excessive drinking of alcohol damages the brain cells, which as a result start to affect your daily activities in a negative manner. The victims develop impaired judgment, loss of concentration, poor attention, delayed reaction time, poor memory and poor coordination of different body parts. Since the brain is the center of all; body activities, the victims end up losing proper control over the body activities and the effect may turn out to be fatal ( World Health Organisation)
Excessive alcohol results into extreme dehydration, which always takes long time to recover. For instance dehydration is more dangerous to the active youths because it makes them vulnerable to dangers such as muscle injuries. This dehydration sometimes causes fatigue, loss of muscle mass, poor appetite and it even leads to death of alcohol consumers.
- Effect on sleep
While alcohol makes people to sleep, it affects the quality of sleep as well as the duration of sleep. In fact, the addicts notice that they develop alcohol withdrawal syndrome. This is a condition that comes when people wants to stop using the alcohol. The sleep patterns are completely affected and the victims experiences persistent nightmares. The alcoholic products posses a sedative effect and this pattern of disturbed sleep after the withdrawal of any sedative is common to alcohol addicts. However, these negative effects of alcoholic products on sleep results to poor concentration.
- Damage of the heart
Among the long term effects of alcohol to a person is the heart diseases which. This heart attack leads blood pressure problems and may also result to some dangerous conditions such as stroke.
This condition is very dangerous especially to the old people and women who consume alcoholic products excessively and it may result into death (World Health Organisation)
With the above adverse in mind, the advertisement of alcoholic products has an indirect effect on the drinking behavior, through the attitudes and intentions to drink. This alcoholic product advertising attracts the young people through the humor, animation, and music. The advertisement creates a notion in young people’s minds that alcohol is connected to socialization and it is being accepted by peers. Also the use of sexual imagery and celebrity attachments makes the young adolescents to perceiive drinking of alcohol as an avenue of defining their man or womanhood. Through advertising, the teenagers develop only the positive image about alcohol drinking without putting into consideration the dangerous negative effects of the same (Saffer H.2004)
In most cases alcohol advertising and promotions only encourages positive associations with alcoholic drinks and drinking. This is a problem to young people who actually do not posses any knowledge about these alcoholic products which are being advertised. It does not bring out the negative result of drinking on human health. Instead, it gives a false association of alcoholic drinks using some elements of youth culture to create connections with young vulnerable people. This advertisement may also lure young children into drinking because the alcoholic products packages look beautiful to them. The immediate consequence of this is that children start taking alcohol which in turn exposes them to numerous dangers associated with the act (Tremblant Forum08. 2008)
Finally, the alcohol advertisement goes against some social groups and institutions such as the church. Most religions in the world oppose alcohol and alcohol drinking and hence they feel offended by the companies which advertise alcohol to the public. According to these social institutions, alcohol is associated with evil acts such as sexuality among the youth and vulnerability to diseases which ruins the human body. For example, the Christian church maintains that human body is a temple of God hence it should not be damaged ( Dring C.2001)..
Companies’ corporate social responsibilities
- Anheuser-Busch company
This is the leading American brewer based in St. Louis and it brews the world’s best selling beers. Alongside adverting, the company promotes and conducts alcohol awareness and education programs which are of great use to the society. It also promotes the environmental outreach and all all other things that are done in any community as a good corporate citizen. For instance, the company supports some important programs that promote the Latino communities education, economic and leadership development. It also offers educational scholarships to many college students who pursue higher education and it invests a lot of money in numerous community based programs that helps in boosting responsibility and fight against drug abuse (Hispanic Pr Wire2000)
- Miller Brewing Company
The company participates in the discouragement of irresponsible alcohol drinking and in HIV reduction and awareness programs. The company gives grants to people in the community which they use to improve their lifestyles. It also provides free transportation to the people during important occasions. For example, some people are transported freely during the St. Patrick Day.
- Molson Coors Brewing Company
This company participates in different community investment programs and environmental outreach services. It participates in promoting the lifestyles of vulnerable people in the society such as the youths.
During adolescence, young people want to enjoy life to maximum while they develop their social networks, establish relationships and explore their own identity. It is evident that alcohol advertisements has a very strong attraction for teenagers as it portrays lifestyles and images which actually make a greater part of their social setting. Alcoholic product advertising promotes and insists on the use of alcohol with a range of activities that teenagers aspire to engage in and definitely enjoy. For young people, the ‘selling’ aspects of drug advertisements are all to do with connecting alcohol to only positive images of prestigious lifestyles. It has nothing to do with the selling of the actual alcoholic product.
Alcohol advertising is likely to have greater negative effects among the younger people including the girls in the age bracket of 15 and 18 years. This younger age group is particularly vulnerable because they perceive the advertising messages as saying that alcoholic products helps them in having fun, making new friends and becoming popular and those that don’t take alcohol miss this opportunities associated with drinking. They also perceive alcohol advertisements as widening their knowledge about the use of alcohol, normalizing it and portraying it as a safe and an act without any risk. For most girls, alcohol drinking is perceived as the best method of getting and increasing self confidence. The message from the advertisements for the elderly people, young boys and girls, is that success and happy moments results from the consumption of alcohol.
The advertisements strengthen the alcohol beliefs expressed by many participants that the use of alcohol improves their mood and contributes to social and sexual excellence.
Based on the young peoples’ perceptions, it is clear that the alcohol advertisements infringe the Irish alcohol advertising codes in numerous ways. These codes include the linking of alcohol use with social or sexual success in the society and implying that alcohol is associated with some therapeutic impacts.
According to close analysis, seventy five percent of the alcohol advertisements heard or viewed mainly target the young people because of their use of topics and some devices that possess particular appeal for the young. Alcohol advertising is mostly done through the broadcast media which includes radios, print media and billboards along the roads, specific sponsorships and branded alcohol products. Young people happen to be the most highly exposed people to these misleading messages about alcohol and alcohol drinking. These messages in turn make the youths to create and strengthen their attitudes and beliefs which finally results to subsequent drinking patterns.
Because of these alarming negative impacts associated with the advertisements on alcoholic products, the following measures should be taken to reduce the menace; children and adolescents’ exposure to alcohol advertisements should be significantly reduced, Companies producing alcohol should avoid using the misleading alcohol products brand names, the companies should at all times attach health and safety messages to their alcohol advertisements and training institutions should provide general training on media literacy to enable the youths develop a sense of judgment in understanding media advertisements on some dangerous products such as alcohol.