Anti-drinking campaign ads may be ‘catastrophically misconceived’

Anti-drinking campaign ads may be ‘catastrophically misconceived’

Our federal government seems to be concerned about young people binge-drinking. And this is good. Yet how we proceed needs some careful thought. Take a look at the following recent research from the UK. Professor Christine Griffin from the University of Bath, who led the research with colleagues from Royal Holloway, University of London and the University of Birmingham has this to say:

‘Extreme inebriation is often seen as a source of personal esteem and social affirmation amongst young people…’

She goes on to say that:

Adverts that show drunken incidents, such as being thrown out of a nightclub, being carried home or passing out in a doorway, are often seen by young people as being a typical story of a ‘fun’ night out, rather than as a cautionary tale.’

And:

‘Not only does being in a friendship group legitimise being very drunk – being the subject of an extreme drinking story can raise esteem within the group.’

I think something important is being said here. Behaviour perceived as a problem by adults or the wider society is not necessarily seen that way by the young people involved in it. And so how we tackle it needs some serious thinking.

The following ad, on the other hand, shows I think, a well-thought-out response. It reminds those of us who drink…er…and we are in considerable numbers…to be mindful of what we do, where we do it, and just and who is noticing. It seeks the best in us and reminds us to be the decent human beings that most people are most of the time.

This ad isn’t really directed at young people. But it’s not bad. Now we need to start getting it right with young people too.

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