Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Barney Rubble at the Rub-a-Dub

According to Sky News, the British Medical Association wants UK media regulators to impose a total ban on alcohol advertising, including at sports events, as well as put an end to promotions like Happy Hour.

From their report:

"Alcohol marketing communications have a powerful effect on young people and come in many forms. These include traditional advertisements on television through ubiquitous ambient advertising to new media such as social network sites and viral campaigns. The cumulative effect of this promotion is to reinforce and exaggerate strong pro-alcohol social norms."

This follows closely on the heels of last spring's statement by the British Chief Medical Officer that “Cheap alcohol is killing us as never before."

Wow. I knew the Brits were heavy drinkers, but this official zero-tolerance reaction reminds me of why the Americans like to call the UK a "nanny state"...

I mean, is promotion and availability alcohol really the reason that so many Brits are drunks, or is it just a result of despair from the pessimistic economic outlook that so many generations of them have grown up with? Hell, if I lived in a world like that portrayed by Coronation Street, I'd probably be drinking all the time, too.

What the British really need, in my opinion, is not to denormalize alcohol, but rather re-normalize it as a moderate social drink of good cheer. However, first they'll need something to be cheerful about.

FOLLOWUP: Nice letter to the editor in The Times Online.


  1. Hmm -- Canada's per-capita GDP and unemployment rate are very similar to the UK's, and The Beachcombers was even more depressing than Coronation Street. Perhaps we should take to drink as well.

  2. maybe it's because I live in Halifax, but aren't we Canucks also known around the world as drinkers? The only reason we don't have as bad a rap as the UK is because our subdivisions aren't built around a pub. :)

  3. Hey, Stef, that's just good urban planning. All homes should have a bar or two within walking distance. Cuts down on impaired driving.