Ads That Promote Alcoholism Should be Banned
The other day I was watching TV, and I saw an advertisement for Coors Light beer that was promoting morning drinking. The ad which may seem innocent enough to many showed two male roommates in their twenties cracking open a morning beer while eating breakfast and watching football. The ad then ended with a caption saying “The Official Beer of Saturday Morning” and shifts to the next frame that says in small letters “Celebrate Responsibly.” My first reaction to the irony of all of this was disbelief; the last time I checked drinking in the morning is not drinking responsibly.
For people who are truly able to drink responsibly, that is their choice, and I do not look down on them for making that choice. That being said, I am against promoting the normalization of alcoholism for financial gain, which is exactly what ads like these do. This sort of commercial is just as unethical as what Purdue Pharma and Insys Therapeutics did with promoting the overprescribing of opioids.
The United States has a serious alcohol problem, but not many news outlets are talking about it. There are, on average, 88,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States each year. That’s more than the 70,237 drug overdose deaths that occurred in 2017. Why isn’t the issue of alcohol abuse being discussed further, and why are ads like the one mentioned above able to be aired on national television where children can see them? How has this become so socially acceptable?
My guess is that it is due to the fact that alcohol is so profitable. The alcohol industry spends an average of $1-$2 billion on advertising each year. Alcohol sales in the United States reached $253.8 billion in 2018 and generated around $10 billion in tax revenue. Is this one of the reasons an ad that so blatantly promotes irresponsible drinking patterns was approved to air on TV? I’m not 100% certain, but I am sure it played a role.
One of the most concerning things about this ad was the number of defensive comments that can be seen in the comments feed. Many people did call out Coors for promoting alcoholism, but many others thought the ad was funny and became defensive towards those who had negative comments. I have noticed this myself with other articles I have written about the negative effects of alcohol. Many people do not even bother reading the article but are quick to become defensive about their right to drink. This points to a concerning cultural trend that so many people are not even open to having a real discussion about the topic.
Some people see an ad like this and think it’s funny, but ads like these are not funny. When you have experienced the destruction of alcohol addiction first hand it’s not funny anymore. When you see the horrors of alcohol withdrawal it is not funny anymore. When you have heard countless stories of how it has destroyed families, lead to domestic violence and sexual assault it’s not funny anymore. When you know people who have developed cancer from their drinking and others who have died from their alcoholism, it’s just not funny anymore.
Alcohol is a drug plain and simple. It is a carcinogenic toxin, and it is addictive. Can it be consumed in moderation? By some people, yes, it can, but that doesn’t mean it is any less dangerous. When alcohol is abused, it can destroy lives in more ways than one. I don’t think alcohol should be banned, that didn’t work out too well in the past, but I do think we should pay attention to the messages we are sending our children. An ad like this says it is ok to drink irresponsibly, and that sort of message should not be allowed to be on television.