Access & Advertisement: Important Factors in Female Alcohol Consumption

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As we know, alcohol is everywhere. We don’t know if it’s possible to go an entire day without seeing an advertisement for alcohol. Whether it’s a prominent ad with a massive billboard of a beautiful lady sipping a frothy new flavor beer, or something as subtle as a close up of wine, our favorite movie star is drinking, alcohol has infiltrated our home life, work-life, and for many, our school life. As we’ve been talking about the increase in women drinking in the U.S and all around the world, it’s important to recognize new platforms alcohol companies are using to promote, such as social media. Although they are specific guidelines alcohol companies must adhere to, those regulations seem very vague, for such an important issue. The self-regulated guidelines for advertising alcohol on social media are mainly focused on not promoting to those under the legal drinking age [3]. In 2014, 67% of Americans aged 12 and older said they use social media [1]. For alcohol companies for marketing on social media, 71.6% of their audience must be over the age of 21 [1].  Please take a look below at some of the common social media platforms about how they protect against advertisements being shown to those under the legal drinking age.

We couldn’t find any regulations about how often you could see alcohol advertisements on social or the time of day these ads are prohibited. This is problematic as we discuss the normalization of heavy drinking. Not only are ads practically unregulated, but they are targeting specific groups. Are clever ads and new group-specific products driving the number of women who are engaged in drinking up? Look at this ad that came across my Instagram story as I was casually strolling.

Are you worried about the calories you consume while drinking? No worries, there are now many products targeting women, promoting few calories, and a refreshing fruity taste. How problematic is this? We need more policies to regulate how often, when, and where products can be promoted. Many of us have been warned that having too much screen time is for us. Now, it’s for new reasons.

You can find more information about the prohibited practices for alcohol advertisement here [2].

ACCESS

               As discussed in our previous blog post, stress drinking of alcohol is on the rise during the COVID-19 pandemic, especially for women. Access to alcohol plays an important role in this. Twenty-four-hour liquor stores and wine box subscriptions have kept the alcohol flowing for women stuck inside their homes. Many restaurants are currently offering “cocktails-to-go” and bottles of wine for sale with curbside pick-up orders. Lawmakers are even supporting this movement with temporary legislature, allowing the sell of to-go alcohol [5].

However, many organizations are calling for restrictions on access to alcohol during this pandemic. For instance, the World Health Organization European Region is arguing for restrictions to be “upheld and even reinforced” during the pandemic, in order to reduce alcohol harm [6]. WHO is fighting rumors circulating about alcohol protecting against the coronavirus. Setting the record straight, the agency has reported that alcohol compromises the immune system and can make one more susceptible to the virus.

REFERENCES

  1. https://sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-alcohol-marketing/
  2. https://www.law.cornell.edu/cfr/text/27/5.65
  3. https://www.alcohol.org/laws/marketing-to-the-public/
  4. https://www.ttb.gov/advertising/alcohol-beverage-advertising
  5. https://www.bizjournals.com/philadelphia/news/2020/05/21/pennsylvania-to-go-cocktails.html
  6. http://www.euro.who.int/en/health-topics/disease-prevention/alcohol-use/news/news/2020/04/alcohol-does-not-protect-against-covid-19-access-should-be-restricted-during-lockdown

5 thoughts on “Access & Advertisement: Important Factors in Female Alcohol Consumption

  1. In Symone and my blog post, we briefly mentioned the regulations on social media, but I like how you really delved into the topic. I also liked the graphic a lot!

  2. Thank you! Alexandria did an excellent job with that graphic. I can’t wait to read what you and Symone uncovered about the topic.

  3. Before this class if someone asked if I could go an entire day without seeing an alcohol advertisement, I would have said, uh yeah? But now I know I wasn’t consciously realizing I was seeing such ads due to the normalization. I’m glad this class had made me more aware and perceptive of alcohol advertisements.

    It’s good that there are regulations in place for advertising to underage social media users, but it’s concerning there aren’t regulations on how often they are showed/targeted to someone. Seems it would be very easy to target people who to drink the most based on their posts, making it more likely they reach people who have an alcohol use disorders.

  4. I agree alcohol advertisement really does need to be regulated especially on social media. Before taking this class, I didn’t pay attention to the ads as much, but now I see how frequent the ads pop up. In regards to access, I was shocked how alcohol became more accessible during the COVID-19 pandemic. I also found it interesting yet dangerous that restaurants are allowed to sell alcohol to-go. I feel like this could encourage people to drink and drive, which is definitely dangerous.

  5. It is an exciting topic. I believe that increasing restrictions on alcohol advertising is essential, not just in the COVID-19 era, but permanently as alcohol ads become more abundant and completely devoid of information about the risks associated with alcohol consumption. I also believe that reducing the impact of alcohol marketing on teens is crucial to preventing many public health problems related to alcohol abuse. Excellent post!

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