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The manipulative tactics of big alcohol companies: How they hook you in


Alcohol marketers have some of the biggest budgets in the industry

Today I came across a quote by the incredible Annie Grace, author of This Naked Mind, and a big part of the reason for my own freedom from alcohol.


“A good marketer can sell practically anything to anyone. Tobacco is literally dried, decaying vegetable matter that you light on fire and inhale, breathing horrid-tasting, toxic fumes into your lungs. At one point marketers promoted smoking as a status symbol and claimed it had health benefits. Once you give it a try, the addictive nature of the drug kicks in, and the agency’s job becomes much easier. If they can get you hooked, the product will sell itself. Since the product is actually poison, advertisers need to overcome your instinctual aversion. That’s a big hill for alcohol advertisements to climb, which is why the absolute best marketing firms on the globe, firms with psychologists and human behavior specialists on staff, are hired to create the ads. These marketers know that the most effective sale is an emotional sale, one that plays on your deepest fears, your ultimate concerns. Alcohol advertisements sell an end to loneliness, claiming that drinking provides friendship and romance. They appeal to your need for freedom by saying drinking will make you unique, brave, bold, or courageous. They promise fulfillment, satisfaction, and happiness. All these messages speak to your conscious and unconscious minds.”


Alcohol companies have some of the biggest marketing budgets in the advertising industry, and to bag a big alcohol company is a very big deal indeed for a marketer. The budget is virtually endless, especially on a new launch, and you can choose between the heady mix of TV, big Sports events, Radio and Print and Digital advertising. The dream!


Marketing is basically the job of finding out what it is you need, and then offering a solution for it. In the current climate we all find ourselves wanting a place to hide from the day to day stress factors, or loneliness, or fear. With our televisions spouting constant news of new conflicts, bad weather, disasters and terrible occurrences, we need to be safe. We need escapism. And the alcohol marketers are there to sell it to us.


Think of the last few alcohol adverts you have seen recently. What do they show you?


A glamorous, beautiful woman descending down the stairs in a glorious emerald green dress, smiling at dinner party guests, her home resplendent and shiny clean, opulence everywhere.


Or a group of friends laughing and partying, hugging, bonding. The person with the well-known brand of alcohol is the King of parties, presenting the ultimate social gathering to his gang of equally beautiful friends.


Or perhaps it is set on a tropical beach, with a group of beautiful people having the time of their lives while taking selfies with their tin of pre-mixed cocktail from another well-known brand. The beach is amazing, their bodies are slim and amazing, they have perfect make-up, perfect hair, and no issues with drinking on a hot beach in the summer. Dehydration does not exist in ad-land.


Hmmm.... It's no wonder we find ourselves getting sucked in.


Time for another quote from my hero.... Annie Grace, who was herself a marketer.


Since the product is actually poison, advertisers need to overcome your instinctual aversion. That’s a big hill for alcohol advertisements to climb, which is why the absolute best marketing firms on the globe, firms with psychologists and human behavior specialists on staff, are hired to create the ads. These marketers know that the most effective sale is an emotional sale, one that plays on your deepest fears, your ultimate concerns.” ― Annie Grace


Just like marketing tobacco, marketers have to be really creative with how they pitch a bottle of poison to us, despite knowing it is addictive as hell. And they have no qualms using our fear of being alone, being ostracised, or left out of the invites to social gatherings. Or using our fear of alcohol making us "ugly", by using stunning actors who are impossibly slim and beautiful. I have no idea how, given what wine, beer and spirits does to most of our bodies. It definitely did not make me or any of my drinking friends slim...


What they do not do, however, is show you the truth.


Where are all the drunk people in their adverts?


Where are the people falling over, or tripping up the steps and spending the rest of the night in casualty, shame-faced, and then calling their Dad to come and collect them?


Where are the people being thrown out of bars when they have spent too much money on alcohol and can no longer drink any more without slurring their words, falling over, and dribbling over their party mates? Can these people not control an addictive substance? How dare they. Out on the street with you, in the cold! I do not care if you are female, alone, and your bag is still inside the pub so you cannot get a safe taxi home. To hell with you! Next time, know your limits. We want your money, NOT your drunkenness! Gah.


Where are the scenes where people go home and beat up their spouses? Or smack their kids too hard for bleating on about reading a bedtime story? Or kick the dog for being a pain and wanting a walk, when all you want is your glass of wine and some TV time? You deserve it, right? You are stressed, goddamit. Where are the scenes when you have a screaming row with your partner for something absolutely minuscule? And where are the cameras when you wake up the following morning, and do not even remember why they are still angry with you. Nor do you remember the fight. Or even the reason for the fight. You know something is off with them, you wish you could remember what it was...


Where are the glossy scenes of the party when the girl at the bar has been left alone by her friends, and she knows she has had too much to drink to get safely home. She starts to black out, her head is spinning, and then a "Knight in shining armour" notices she is out of it, and wanders over to offer a lift "home", all caring and lovely. He has nasty looking eyes, he is predatory, but she does not notice, she just nods vaguely at him in her blacked-out status and shuffles off the bar stool to follow him to who-knows-where... without alcohol there is no way she would have gone near him, let alone gone home with him. Her hair is mussed, her eyes glazed, her dress rides up - she was an obvious target for him.


And most of all, where are the scenes in the hospital, as we hold the hand of a loved one as they slip away to cancer or liver disease, once the poison destroys what is left of the body that once imbibed it? The promising young individual with the high-flying career, the one who has two young children and a beautiful wife. It was not his fault he could not stop drinking an addictive substance, and the marketers just kept pushing it and pushing it every time he thought to give it up. But now it is too late, and his loved ones shed tragic tears as he slips away for good. He was taken away from us too young.


Last week a recruiter contacted me about a job with one of the bigger alcohol brands. It was the easiest and quickest "no" response I have ever written.


If you are reading this, and you need help with your drinking, contact me. Even if you keep trying to give up, and then going back to drinking even more, I can help. I have been trained in one of the most effective programs in the world, and I am using it to remove Big Alcohol's customers from them, one by one. It is my way of getting back at them.


You can be free from this. I am proof. Allow me to help, and then we can throw rocks at our enemies together. 💚


Amanda x


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