The Dissident Spin Doctor: Preparing for the booze marketing clamp down

by Emma King (@EmmainSA) Proposed amendments to liquor laws and restrictions on the sales and marketing of alcohol have once again become hot topics of conversation. Boardrooms, newsrooms and braais are seething with debates about what should or shouldn’t be changed, and who has the right to make decisions about how other people behave.

My personal opinion? Well, I get pretty pissed when people dictate when or how I can do something, and that extends to being able to sip a glass of chilled Chardonnay on a Sunday afternoon.

I don’t deny that we have a serious issue with alcohol abuse in this country. But, having worked in the alcohol industry in some form or other for all of my career, and having worked with mountains of research and closely with experts on the matter, I’m not convinced that prohibition (i.e. the restrictions of sales in various manners) or the outright banning of alcohol advertising is necessarily the answer.

What cannot be denied is the need for real intervention at grassroots level to change behaviour: robust enforcement of current laws, working with outlets to trade responsibly, and a concerted effort to tackle issues that go hand in hand with alcohol abuse – education, unemployment, and crime.

Framing the alcohol advertising regulation debate

The advertising and media industries are bracing for stricter government regulation of alcohol advertising. It is an incredibly complex and global issue, so here is a framework to help contextualise what is actually going on.

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