The Drinks Industry can have their ads but they can’t have Christmas too!

The Alcohol Beverage Federation of Ireland (ABFI) have recently issued a statement, and supporting video advertorial on social media, again critical of the measures proposed in the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill. The piece criticises the measures as seeking the demise of an ‘iconic’ television advert for an alcoholic beverage, and highlights the aspects that may be lost.

The measures within the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill do not prohibit any drinks producer from advertising their product.

What the Bill seeks to do is to de-normalise our cultural love affair with alcohol; advertisements, in all their forms, currently contribute to that culture, precisely as demonstrated by the Drinks Industry and their surrogates, ABFI.

Speaking about the reference advertisement, Eunan McKinney, Head of Communications and Advocacy at Alcohol Action Ireland said:

“Guinness seeks to capture our sentimental memories of Christmas so that they can be portray themselves as essential to the spirit of Christmas. In essence, the ABFI claim illustrates what they see as an infringement on Big Alcohol’s ‘acquisition’ of Christmas.

This is precisely the link these modest measures seek to influence in the future. No longer will the Drinks Industry be able to hijack our every moment, reflect every emotion or share every success.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will introduce new regulations that, over time, will reshape our conscious relationship with alcohol. The regulations proposed on Content of Advertisement will affect that change but without removing businesses ability to market.

In short, it allows for functional promotion but not the acquisition of appeal, emotion, glamour or success – the Drinks Industry will still have their ads but they can’t have Christmas too!

Only a minute amount of this spending will likely be affected by the provisions of the Bill. Drinks companies will have the freedom to advertise their brands, including an image of the product, an image or reference to its place of origin, its method of production, its price, its brand marque, its name, its logo, a description of its flavour, etc.,

In 2017, it is anticipated that the Irish advertising market will likely exceed €1.1 billion while the sponsorship market will be worth approximately €173m. The Drinks Industry will spend close on €50 million, on direct advertising. The proposed measures, when implemented, will likely make a nominal impact of less than 0.02% on this overall market.

The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill contains a range of measures – minimum unit pricing, health labelling, regulation of alcohol marketing and promotion and structural separation, designed to work together to reduce alcohol consumption in Ireland so lessening alcohol related harms. Implemented together, they will provide a reasonable, pragmatic means to achieving the ambition of this progressive public health initiative.