Friday, September 3, 2010

Step away from the alcohol!

The English-speaking world's relationship with alcohol has changed significantly in the last few generations. I was reminded of this when I found this old hand-painted glass slide from a travelling preacher's "magic lantern" show:

Alcohol then, in the days of the Women's Temperance Union, was the curse of the working class. The moralistic view was that it turned men to vice, robbed their families of household income, and resulted in domestic abuse. (All of which were, to some extent, true.)

This attitude soon led to Prohibition, which in turn gave rise to organized crime in North America. That didn't work out so well.

In the post WWII era, drinking got sophisticated, and being a functional alcoholic was not necessarily a career-limiter.

(yes, I know that's modern satire)

Fast forward to the now, and alcohol still brings with it a host of issues, including dependency, poor health, impaired driving, and other horrible things people do when they're inebriated.

So what should we do, prohibit it again? Or can we actually get people to exercise self-control around demon liquor?

This brings me to today's featured campaign, which I saw on The Drum. It's from National Health Birmingham East and North, and it takes the smart approach of encouraging harm reduction through simple lifestyle changes:

I love the '60s style design, but I'm an even bigger fan of social marketing strategy. The campaign site just asks its target audience of older, stay-at-home women to go three days a week without drinking.

From the homepage:
Nowadays, many of us have got used to drinking regularly through the week. However evidence shows that this everyday drinking can lead to serious liver disease, and can actually be more harmful to the liver than the ‘binge drinking’ most of us associate with unhealthy drinking. The 3 days booze free challenge is a great way to reduce the risks to your health. Just having 3 booze free days a week gives your liver a break and can help reduce the risk of alcohol related illness.

Okay, so there's some 1960s sexism there as well, with all the examples of housework. I can't see any reason to defend that. But for what it's worth, according to Britain's Institute of Alcohol studies, in recent years, the growth in average consumption and in heavy drinking has been more marked in women than men. And with unemployment high in the UK, more than 30% of working-aged women (pdf) are not employed outside the home.

No comments:

Post a Comment