Monday, October 3, 2011

Ban alcohol advertising!!! TROLLOLOL!

A few years ago, the image of the smoker went from cool, stylish early adapter to hateful bio-terrorist junky. This happened due to a few issues. First among them was that cigarette advertising was purged from the media – there were no more Marlboro Men, Camel Experiences or that disturbingly soothing Pall Mall radio jingle. Remember that shit? Everyday so many people say “Pall Mall, please.”

*Ding ding*
Tobacco ads weren’t only good - they were prevalent. All portrayed personas, journeys and lifestyles that people desired and all were constantly bombarded upon our senses like so many Normandy's. None more so than the surprisingly smoke-free World of Peter Stuyvesant – which is more of a yacht than a world. It turned out to be nothing more than a disgusting sham - smokers of Stuyvesant don’t go on to be models on a boat, they go on to be slurring drunks in a bar. That’s right, the real world of Peter Stuyvesant is actually less Cafe Del Mar and more The Shack.

The real world of Peter Stuyvesant.
 Another thing that happened to smoking was the ban on indoor smoking in public places – this meant that the movie theatre, once a horrible, smelly place drowned in murky, screen-obscuring death clouds, became quite a pleasant place to be. This law eventually evolved into banning smoking everywhere other than in designated zones and these days smokers are among the most persecuted nations on the planet – they’re treated like quarantined plague vectors and are put into glass boxes where they can choke on each other’s fumes all they want before dying together like the scum that they are. We accept this as normal like Germany did in 1939.

And you're coming with me.
But to come back to my early point, the ban on cigarette advertising had several repercussions. The first was no more sponsorships – which meant movie characters stopped smoking, which meant a lot of the reason why people (like myself) actually took up the nasty habit in the first place (to be cool) was eliminated. In short, smoking wasn't cool anymore.

Point proven. The defense rests.
For example, Formula 1 was the poster-child of tobacco advertising for decades – Mild 7, Benson & Hedges, Lucky Strike and especially Marlboro adorned the cars, jumpsuits, helmets and pit areas of many-a-great Formula 1 driver. Micheal Schumacher’s Ferrari sported the Marlboro logo on its rear wing for most of his 7 world championships. It reminded all of us that Marlboro = Ferrari and Ferrari is the coolest brand on the planet... according me, anyway.

So cool, they put it on his face.
The result? Most people who smoke Marlboro do it because of the image of a little red car donning its emblem to countless world championships. The relationship between the team and the deathstick loved by so many cowboys has even survived even F1’s ban on tobacco advertising - albeit in a much less vulgar way. The official Ferrari team’s name is Scuderia Ferrari Marlboro.

Translated it means: “There’s always a loophole, bitches.”
So now there’s a similar ban on alcohol advertising looming. The drinking world is up in arms. Distell and SAB are pondering the apocalypse and rappers the world over are wondering if they can accommodate fruit juice, milkshake and softdrinks in their rhymes as effectively as they once accommodated Hennessy.

“I like my girls big and kinda bumpy.
Riding on 4s sippin’ Steri Stumpi”
Neverthless, the culture of drinking is so ingrained in the pulp of society that it’d be impossible to stop it. Indeed, when weighed against hard drugs, gateways drugs and cigarettes, alcoholic beverage has one advantage that no other narcotic has ever had – the endorsement of Jesus Christ himself. So when Christians – the major religious group on the planet – not only drink but have the personal blessing of their most important prophet, then the battle against alcohol is a losing one.

Jesus? Nope. Chuck Testa.
Do I support the ban on alcohol’s advertising? I don’t disagree with it, that’s for sure. Alcoholism is a very dangerous addiction. A drunk lacks coherent thought, logic, rationality and inhibition - becoming a danger to himself and to others. Something as trivial as a small argument can lead to violent scuffles. Something as simple as driving a car becomes a potentially lethal act and if you get caught there are serious repercussions. Not everybody drinks like that I know, but the binge-drinking problem is pretty grave around here.

Can you imagine him drunk? ...You may be an agent.
While it’s true that directly, fewer people die from drinking than smoking – indirectly, it’s a different story altogether. Beaten women, car-crash victims and a gutter full of sleeping teens in Claremont can testify that alcohol is a weapon of mass destruction. Alcohol and cigarettes are historically co-dependent too – like lightbulbs and crystal meth. People who militantly don’t smoke when sober, will puff away when drunk. This lends impetus to the argument that alcohol makes you do stupid shit you otherwise wouldn’t.

The dude in the red cap converted to Islam soon after.
Like cigarettes in 90s, alcohol isn’t nearly as cool as it is portrayed. Trust me - a few pints of lager and a few glasses of champagne both lead to the same inevitable outcome. However, teen movies with their “brewskies” and rap songs with their “hennie and crys” have us believing that alcohol is sweet ambrosia filled with the keys to crazy house parties, thousands of friends and firm thighs opening as readily as a 7-Eleven.

The Hennessy Myth.
There has to be consistency in the world. You can’t ban cigarette advertising because it promotes a lethal habit and then continue to have ads about Black Label being a reward at the end of a long day’s mining. Johnny Walker inspiring men to great things or Castle Lite making wild has-beens appear.

Use copyright violation lawsuit. It's super-effective!
If you’re going to discourage cigarettes and vilify their users because their addiction kills so many millions then everything else with similar death tolls has got to stop being advertised as well – otherwise you might as well bring back cigarette advertising and at least make some money – you’re going to hell anyway.

David Ogilvy, is that you?
And it doesn’t even stop at narcotics. A hot hatch today can go as fast as a top end Ferrari in the 80s. Awesome... but speed limits have gotten slower. People are more aware of healthy eating than they ever were before... yet cholesterol is the global killer on par with HIV. We can’t ban these things because somewhere there was a product placement that fucked everything up for the public. This is what we're left with: second hand smoke, holes in the ozone layer, cellular radiation, etc - basically people getting hated on for doing things that industry told them to do. Take a little bit of ownership for the lifestyle you sold us Mr Industry. FFS. There never was an ad that said: “Are you sick of being sober?” or “Do you want to beat your wife and kids?” or "Hate people that bump into you by mistake?" No, narcotics advertising is the sale of the douchebag lifestyle by proxy.

How many people can say that drinking Hennessy actually made them a famous rapper? Zero. 

Kanye's wallet bursts with endorsements.
I’m in advertising. I make ads for a living. I know how powerful this marketing form is. If you find a way to show that beautiful people eat fried banana slugs on yachts off the coast of Bermuda, people will start eating fried banana slugs because out of “beautiful people”, “yacht”, “coast of Bermuda” and “fried banana slug”, the latter is the easiest to get your hands on. You can then associate the eating of said slug and therefore yourself with the other more expensive things.

You're moving up in the world.
Local radio-DJs criticize the proposed ban on the grounds of freedom of speech. Very admirable but I call bullshit. I’m all for freedom of speech but the notion is moot when you live in a country famed for its crippling tariffs on basic information-gathering services like cellphones and the internet. There was even a policy that prevented South African businessman from taking advantage of last year’s football World Cup. That's a cornerstone of democracy basically defecated on and nobody says shit.

"Local African businesses like Coca-Cola and McDonald's will benefit from 2010!"
Alcohol amounts for some of the most lucrative sponsorships in the world. Every big event and party (including those nifty 5FM ones) has about 10 alcohol brands bankrolling something. Ever heard a radio featurette? “This message was brought to you by Stroh Rum. Destroy your liver but sound like a sailor because Stroh puts pubic hair... on your lungs.” Listen to the radio for a few hours and you’ll hear about 10 of those and most of them are from alcohol brands.

This is aprox, 1000000000th of the total industry so imagine all the ad campaigns.
A ban on advertising means there’s no value in endorsement and that means celebrity wallets suddenly get light. In a country where being talented, being a celebrity and being rich aren’t always linked, those sponsorships represent livelihood. Furthermore, of all big brands it’s the alcohol-related ones that pay for the most airtime so the media (and advertising business by proxy) is in a sort of silent panic mode.
What do you mean no Country Road shopping trip?!?!?!?!?
I said it earlier - if you drink already and you love it, then the amount of fucks you give about the ban should amount to nothing. The effect will be the same as it was with tobacco - basically akin to a million voices extolling the joys of booze suddenly being silenced. No more drink ads means no more aspirational drinkers and where once there was impatience, there will be young people with zero desire to take to the bottle. Where once there was stubbornness, people may even quit drinking altogether. It’s a very effective process.

I call it “de-coolification”.

It worked on Ja Rule.