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Special Feature – No. 40
Big Alcohol Exposed: Normalizing Alcohol Use Through Festivities and Special Days
The alcohol industry exploits festivals, celebrations and every other more or less special calendar day to normalize alcohol use, increase alcohol sales and maximize their profits. Christmas is one of the major targets of this Big Alcohol. This strategy by Big Alcohol preys on children and vulnerable people exposing them to relentless marketing during special events.
For instance, a recent report by the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) in the United Kingdom (UK) titled “No escape: How alcohol marketing preys on children and vulnerable people” found:
- The marketing of alcohol at special events made it difficult for people with an alcohol use disorder or in recovery to fully participate in everyday life,
- The aggressive marketing of alcohol could trigger relapse, and
- Children were regularly exposed to alcohol marketing in Britain.
The alcohol industry has a long history of exploiting special events and causes to maximize their own profits such as by aligning with women empowerment and the feminist movement around Women’s Day to target their products to women and splashing rainbow themed marketing during Pride Month to target LGBTQ people.
It is harmful for the alcohol industry to align with special days and causes such as Women’s Rights and LGBTQ rights because alcohol products have been harming women and LGBTQ community for years.
The alcohol industry has a long history of exploiting women’s rights and the feminist movement for profit maximization. On the one hand Big Alcohol targets women with specific alcohol marketing using it as a “gender equalizer” and on the other hand the industry objectifies women in alcohol marketing directed at men – and has done so for decades. One example is Absolut Vodka’s Valentine’s Day campaign in 2020 targeting consent but actually normalizing alcohol use through “responsible alcohol use” messaging. Another example is Diageo’s partnership with International Women’s Day.
During Pride month hidden behind the rainbow marketing and corporate sponsorships and partnerships is the disproportionate harm alcohol products are causing LGBTQIA+ people.
The Alcohol Issues Podcast
How the Alcohol Industry Misrepresents the Truth About Alcohol and Cardiovascular Health
Alcohol’s harm on cardiovascular health is arguably the area where scientific knowledge and public awareness have progressed most slowly in the last decade. In addition to inaction, the myth of alcohol’s benefits for cardiovascular health persists. And in policy making processes this misunderstanding is a critical impediment to accelerating action on alcohol as public health priority. But this is changing.
In this episode of the Alcohol Issues Podcast host Maik Dünnbier welcomes Mark Petticrew and May van Schalkwyk to explore why change is needed and how it can be further accelerated.
- Mark is Professor of Public Health Evaluation in the Department of Social and Environmental Health Research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. He is Director of the NIHR Public Health Research Unit.
- May is Specialist Registrar in Public Health and (NIHR) National Institute for Health Research Doctoral Research Fellow at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, researching the commercial determinants of health.