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Ban alcohol advertising totally? Let's try something else

We are a nation of compromise. Back in the day when our country was first forged, we settled on three capitals instead of one.
Instead of holding out until the end, the former National Party decided to negotiate a democratic settlement.

During the birth of democracy we settled on 11 official languages! Then there is our beloved (but rather incoherent) national anthem. Musically it doesn't flow, people of all races do not know the words and let's be honest, many of us babble along when the verses from the "other" languages . Yet somehow it works for us.

Total vs partial

All this compromising but we are faced with a blanket ban on alcohol advertising! There has been posturing from both sides, government and industry but I believe the solution lies in a partial ban.

(Image: JD, via Wikimedia Commons)
(Image: JD, via Wikimedia Commons)
Government wants a total ban, similar to that imposed on the tobacco industry. I remember that debacle. Government insisted on putting warning labels on cigarette packs and a total ban on tobacco advertising, sponsorships, endorsements and even face to face promotions.

Did people stop smoking because of this? The debate continues.

I believe there were benefits though.

Camels for Africa

Smoking was glamorised during the pre-ban period. I hope I'm not breaking the ban here but I remember the slogans "Lexington...that's the one" and "Men rate Gunston great". It was very seductive. When I did begin smoking (my doctor says asthmatics who smoke should be shot), the first packet I bought was Camel Filters.

Growing up, Camel was the "larney" brand. Offer a smoker one and their face would light up, followed by a gentle nod of approval.

I had been tempted by the Camel radio adverts. Camel smokers climbed mountains, went on rainforest expeditions and probably had a different woman in their bed every night (females smoking in my community was strictly frowned upon).

So the glamour had been removed from what mum calls a "filthy habit". I have never heard a person say "my new year's resolution is to begin smoking". The tobacco industry's doomsday predictions for the future of sponsorships also came to nought.

Seductive alcohol advertising

Which brings me to the current debate about alcohol advertising and compromise. Does seeing a beer brand logo on a sports jersey really make one go out and grab a six-pack? I think a certain whisky tastes like castor oil but I still enjoy the Met.

The problem is seductive alcohol advertising. Advertisements showing people laughing, socialising, feeling on top of the world and being attractive to the opposite sex should be prohibited. Drinking lots of cider does not cool the earth, the only shivers you feel are those next morning when you have had too much.

The details around compliance etc. would have to be worked out but I believe this is the best solution. Winning popularity contests with the electorate or building an arsenal of statistics and surveys will mean nobody truly wins in the end.

About Keeran Sewsunker

Newsroom Media Content provides copywriting, news, photography and research services across several media platforms.

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