DrinkWise; Time To Declare
There’s nothing better than summer in Australia.
The temperature is warmer, the sun sets later and the air even feels different.
The start of summer also signifies the start of the cricket season, and for many Australians watching the cricket is synonymous to having a beer.
Cricket Australia and DrinkWise’s announcement as partners for the first time this summer seems to be a great success on the surface – Cricket Australia appears to be playing their part as a concerned agent while DrinkWise is helping society by promoting responsible drinking.
However, there are a number of deeper issues that must be addressed in this partnership which will have major ramifications for Australia and its sporting culture.
The DrinkWise campaign ‘You won’t miss a moment if you DrinkWise’ is designed to remind fans to pace themselves and drink in moderation so they won’t miss any of the on-field action.
But something’s missing from this campaign. What exactly does drinking in moderation look like?
There is no clear suggestion or guideline from DrinkWise.
Now here’s the thing: DrinkWise is financed by Australia’s major wine, beer and spirits producers and manufacturers such as Carlton and United Breweries and Hardys Wines.
In 2007, alcohol advertising spend in Australia was around $128 million, and that doesn’t include sponsorships or internet advertising. That brings us to question, how much does DrinkWise actually spend? It’s certainly not as much as the industry’s marketing budget. It’s not surprising – but it’s clear — these companies put more effort into selling product than protecting people from harms associated with their product.
Having alcohol companies involved in the messaging of responsible drinking isn’t the most logical arrangement. They’re not interested in offering healthier options to drinking. They are motivated to ensure you drink over a longer period of time. To them, there isn’t an alcohol problem in Australia – alcohol is a perfectly fine, fun activity; it’s on us to be responsible.
DrinkWise offers no suggestions, guidelines or practical solutions to what moderate or responsible drinking actually is.
Imagine being in class and the teacher encourages you to learn mathematics but doesn’t show you how to add, subtract, multiply or divide. That’s what DrinkWise’s campaign for drinking responsibly is like – you’re simply left to your own devices.
Instead, all we get are ambiguous meanings and mixed messages within smooth and suave marketing campaigns.
There’s a saying that a half truth is as dangerous as a lie.
DrinkWise’s acknowledgement for responsible drinking is a start. But there needs to be more-rounded education on what responsible drinking actually entails.
It doesn’t feel right just telling people to be more responsible without any advice to go along with it.
What exactly does alcohol responsibility look like for different groups such as young people or pregnant women?
Statistics, facts, plans, tips, guidelines, solutions – these are all part of an effective strategy on responsible drinking.
The National Health and Medical Research Council states the maximum amount is four standard drinks for any occasion. Why doesn’t DrinkWise offer a similar clear guideline?
Calling on action simply isn’t enough. Without tools and information, the message of responsible drinking is lost.
It doesn’t work. It’s not what we need. And it’s definitely not what we deserve in safe-drinking messaging.