They’ve got the money and know-how to drive us to drink. Even if you’re aware of advertising and can spot a subliminal message a mile off, it’s still easy to get sucked in. Alcohol advertising is all around us and it’s creeping into our pockets. Social media plays a big part in influencing our drinking habits. And with the alcohol industry being ‘voluntarily self-regulated’, we can’t rely on them to pull themselves in line, can we?
The moves they pull:
- Alcohol advertising makes you believe that booze is fun, sexy, desirable and harmless, but exposure to alcohol advertising is associated with young people drinking more and from an earlier age.
- The booze industry spends millions each year glamorising alcohol use and reinforcing Australia’s drinking culture while downplaying the harms.
- Young people are the booze industry’s primary targets. They can recruit new users to their brand in the hope of creating lifelong loyalty. Notice how your social media feeds advertise alcohol brands and their promos and comps?
- Young Australians who like or follow alcohol brands on social media are twice as likely to drink at risky levels than those who don’t.
- Alcohol brands even use you to promote them by sending a photographer to snap you and your mates at festivals, clubs and bars. These photos are then posted on the brand’s Facebook and Instagram, with the people in the pics often tagging themselves and sharing.
- They use gimmicks and cuddly characters (like Bundy R. Bear) to mask the harm their products can do.
- They also sexualise women, often portraying them as objects. These type of ads send out the message that women have to look and act sexy to be desirable, and they reinforce sexist gender stereotypes which are harmful to society.
- The booze industry makes sure there are no actual laws around the way they advertise their products. There’s a voluntary self-regulation code, but no sanctions if their rules are broken. It’s easy to play by the rules when you make them yourself.