Thursday, 16 April 2015

Lies, damn lies and advertising. Part 1: Shifting the blame.

After the Students Union disassociated itself from the ludicrous alcohol sponsored campaign it was only a matter of time before the Booze Bosses came up with another wheeze to distract attention from the facts behind Ireland’s massive alcohol related health and social problems. ‘Stop Out of Control Drinking’ is the shiny new alcohol funded campaign that once again puts responsibility for alcohol problems squarely on drinkers. Disturbingly one of its adverts seems to suggest that victims of sexual violence who have been drinking are responsible for being attacked.

In response to the advert Clíona Saidléar, Director of the Rape Crisis Network Ireland, called for the removal of the advert: "The belief that drunk girls are ‘asking for it’ is one that needs to be strongly challenged as it is one that we know perpetrators use to select and target their victims knowing this cultural attitude will mean they get away with it. Disappointingly, the out-of-control campaign instead of challenging it has reinforced it here." 

The response of RCNI is only one of many criticisms that the ‘Stop Out of Control Drinking’ campaign has received. In addition the campaign has suffered from resignations of board members and health organisations initially affiliated with the group. However, this should cause little concern for Ireland’s booze industry. Diageo can easily throw together another campaign, whilst using the present one to promote how socially responsible they are. More importantly every minute of news and every inch of column space spent discussing ‘Stop Out of Control Drinking’ is time and space and energy taken away from discussing the root cause of drink problems: That alcohol related violence, mental and physical sickness, and all that costs to society, are a direct product of a deliberate policy by the Booze Bosses to get people to drink as much as they can from as young an age as possible. Any campaign that takes the attention from that basic fact is a considerable success for the alcohol industry (and its many friends in Leinster House).

In my next blog I’ll be looking at a document does spell out the facts in glaring detail; a document that should be given out to every student at both third level and secondary level education. It is a UK report called ‘They’ll drink bucket loads of the stuff’ and it is an analysis of alcohol industry’s own internal advertising and marketing documents. Stay tuned.

Now read: Lies, damn lies and advertising. Part 2: Bucket loads!

Read the full RCNI response to alcohol rape advert here
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