A New Advertising World – Part 2

In my last post, I discussed how changes in laws have lead to increased pharmaceutical advertising on television.  This week, it’s about a different type of “pharmaceutical” – liquor and spirits.  Ad Age recently had an article about this very topic, which was the inspiration for this post.

While beer commercials have been a part of television for decades, no liquor ads appeared on television between 1948 and 1996.  While the federal government generally views beer, wine and spirits similarly, for years the broadcast networks did not.  A few local affiliates gradually allowed some liquor advertising late at night, provided the audience contained a minimum of 71% over the age of 21.

As with the pharmaceutical industry, television is viewed as the more prestigious medium.  Many companies feel television advertising allows them to increase awareness of new products, especially to potential new consumers.  It also allows them to present their message differently than other advertising channels.

Given the self-imposed broadcast industry restrictions on liquor advertising, it has a long way to go before it dominates the airwaves like beer advertising does.  To illustrate the difference, Bud Light spent $230 Million on television advertising in 2011 whereas Captain Morgan rum was the largest liquor advertiser on television at $17 Million.

Tying this post back to Part 1, there are quite a few similarities between prescription drug and liquor/spirits advertising.  After all, both are likely making promises of feeling better when taking their product, both have side effects and both come with their fair share of warnings.  Interestingly, you’ll never see either being directly consumed in a commercial.

So how do you feel about seeing commercials for hard alcohol?  Do you feel differently about seeing commercials for beer vs. wine vs. hard alcohol?  Are you okay with the self-imposed restrictions the networks have or should they be strengthened/lessened?

Now that you’ve read both parts, do you have similar views on commercials for prescription drugs and hard alcohol, or do they differ?  I’d love to hear your opinions.


2 thoughts on “A New Advertising World – Part 2

  1. Arthur, I believe it is the predisposition of the person that responds to advertisements. An addictive personality or one who naively believes the “good times” presented in these advertisements will guarantee the user a good time are susceptible to believing the message and buying the product. For instance, the more droplets of water on the advertised bottle, the more suggestive it is.
    As for “pharmaceutical” purposes, alcohol (beer and hard) has been used for celebration and medication for centuries. The 19th century was rampant with overuse of alchohol. It took away pain and misery. We may now call drinking a way to celebrate but ridding ourselves of the burdens of life is what advertisers are promising in the concept of “celebrating.” Otherwise, we would drink milk or water.
    I would no more respond to a hard liquor advertisement than a beer advertisement, no matter how it proclaimed to made you feel. I know what I like (dark beer) and that is more powerful than someone telling me what I should like. Of course, in my profession, I understand what makes an ad alluring. It’s about the psychology of what will trigger a response to the afore mentioned personalities. The more susceptible you are to believing the message, the easier it is to make you believe the message. Advertisers specifically target that. This is what sells cleaning products in daytime TV and beer ads at night and why “hard tea” is an oxymoron. It’s the personality.

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