Perhaps you’ve noticed that in the past of number of years, the breadth of alcohol culture has increased, -its availability has widened.
It’s a lot more places than it ever used to be…
We see the possibility of booze being consumed where we get our haircut, at Starbucks, at the whole darned festival instead of just the beer tent, on the golf course, at the Farmer’s market. We can buy it at the Supermarket.
This is in part due to market forces – economics. Connected to economics and money as a driver, is marketing. Marketing is the communication between corporate entities and consumer audiences, trying to entice changes in our choices and behaviour. Marketing is a huge part of how we think, imagine, behave and define our social expectations.
For example, the diamond ring as an engagement present is a relatively new idea, perpetuated through mass marketing of diamonds by the DeBeers corporation. Essentially, marketing convinced us as a society that diamonds are a symbol of love and commitment…and they sold a whole lot more diamonds after that. It’s a very famous story.
The same principles hold true to alcohol marketing. While economics have created pressure to allow alcohol to be available in more places, marketing has worked to create alcohol as a normal, everyday thing – a symbol of fun, ceremony or social exuberance.
Yet, let’s think for a second:
- no one hands out samples of other recreational drugs at the Supermarket
- there are no other recreational drugs that are advertised in print, or on television to make us feel we’ll be more attractive, popular, or likely to find a sexual partner if we partake…
- no other recreational drugs have posters at the bus stop, or on huge billboards, or have hilarious commercials during sporting events
- no other recreational drugs have massive sponsorship deals to support sports, athletes, car-racing or the arts…
Yet we have all this and much, much more for alcohol, convincing us that alcohol is a normal, fun, exciting, sexy, dynamic, funny, crazy, wonderful thing. And while any one of us might feel this way in regards to booze for a social occasion or two, the truth is that over-consumption of alcohol is killing us, and costing us billions as a society.