Media Guardian reports this week that alcohol ads are getting more effective, because kids say so.
The report quoting Ofcom and the ASA tells us that there are now fewer alcohol ads on TV. The number of ads being seen by 10 to 24 year olds has dropped in the region of 35%. Unfortunately, the report goes on, the percentage of kids who say that advertising has encouraged them to drink has risen from 25% to 34%.
God help me if I should ever find myself working in the public sector. I swear they hand you your security pass on day one, in exchange for any element of your brain that might hint at curiosity, inquisitiveness or enterprise.
The basic assumption of the piece, and the report is straightforward. Remove ads from TV. Ergo: kids don't drink alcohol.
Has anybody considered the following?
- Kids don't watch much TV these days (see Media Guardian articles and expensive conferences passim).
- The pressure to drink does not come from watching a 30" TV clip.
- Nor does it come from looking at a logo on the front of a football shirt.
- Kids are influenced by other kids.
- Kids are influenced by older brothers and sisters drinking.
- Kids are influenced by cool people drinking. People like celebrities, or Ian Beale's daughter in Eastenders.
- If you're a kid, and someone says to you "behave," you probably won't.
- Kids like taking the piss.
- Kids would probably give a dodgy answer to a civil servant focus group invigilator if they thought it might get a reaction.
If our society wants to tackle the binge-drinking culture - let's actually start engaging some brains that want to think. Blindly commissioning research and hiding behind the results is not good enough. It doesn't take a rocket scientists towork out that none of us rush home to watch the TV ads to get informed. The kids don't even switch it on.
Can Ofcom and the ASA use my taxes to think as well as fill in forms please?