Whoa: The British Medical Association is urging a complete ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorships in England, home to many drunks. But the media needs that money! Who's more disingenuous here—ad agencies, media companies, or doctors? It's close!
Let's all agree that, sure, it would probably be good from a public health standpoint if alcohol ads were banned. But that would hardly erase alcoholism. Or "binge drinking," which is a catchier way to express the phenomenon in trend stories. Every party with a stake in this issue, though, must take an absolutist, laughable position. Everyone is half right and half lying.
The doctors are obligated to overstate the persuasive effects of alcohol ads in order to convince the government to consider such a drastic, money-evaporating ban. The media outlets are obligated to make tortuous mouth-noises about being concerned about the problem and everything but look we really really need that money, sweet Jesus, please lord, we need those alcohol ads (close to $300 million worth, btw), it's a god damn recession, okay? And the ad agencies—well, as Ad Age reports:
Dave Trott, creative director of London agency Chick Smith Trott, said, "People who blame advertising for binge drinking have misunderstood the whole purpose of advertising — it's about stealing market share, not persuading people to drink."
Hahahahahaha! Alcohol advertising is not about persuading people to drink. You and your crazy notions! The truth is that humans, battered by the grim fortunes of this cold world, will often turn to the soothing but destructive embrace of the bottle. Particularly the Irish.
Ciaran O'Reilly, managing director of Refresh Digital Communications in Dublin, said, "The realities are that it would be the view of a lot of informed people that advertising is not the root cause of the problem. Living in a darker and more-miserable climate seems to have a direct correlation with alcohol levels."