Cautionary messages in booze ads promote products instead of health
A new study has revealed that ads reminding consumers to "drink responsibly" or "enjoy in moderation" fail to convey basic public health information and nine out of 10 encourage responsibility; none provide real information about what that means.
According to a new study from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, most of the ads analyzed (87 percent) incorporated a responsibility message, but none actually defined responsible drinking or promoted abstinence at particular times or in certain situations. When responsibility messages were accompanied by a product tagline or slogan, the messages were displayed in smaller font than the company's tagline or slogan 95 percent of the time.
Analysis of the responsibility messages found that 88 percent served to reinforce promotion of the advertised product, and many directly contradicted scenes depicted in the ads. For example, a vodka ad displayed a photograph of an open pour of alcohol with a tagline that implied the drinker had been partying all night.
In small lettering, the same ad advised the audience to enjoy the product responsibly.
Study leader Katherine Clegg Smith while responsibility messages were present in almost nine out of ten ads, none of them provided any information about what it means to drink responsibly and instead, we found that the vast majority of responsibility messages were used to convey promotional information, such as appealing product qualities or how the product should be consumed.
The study was published the Drug and Alcohol Dependence.
(Posted on 05-09-2014)