Anti-drink ads 'waste millions'
UK youth culture has drink at its heart and according to a new report from Birmingham University Business School the Government's failure to understand this has meant that its anti-booze ads miss the mark.
The report suggests that until the ads take note of and address the true social context of young people's drinking and manage to link the social behaviour to the dangers of binge drinking effectively then young people will continue to ignore the warnings that excessive drinking can cause long term health problems.
Millions of pounds is being wasted on anti-booze campaigns because the Government doesn't understand that binge drinking is a way of life for many young people.
The campaigns fail to consider that getting drunk is now an essential part of growing up that helps friends bond, according to research published today by the Economic and Social Research Council.
The report warns that young people are aware of the short-term risks of binge drinking but ignore or are oblivious to the long-term effects on health. Many regard getting drunk as a normal but temporary part of their lives, and are confident they will give it up as they get older.
Funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the study concluded young people did not see their own drinking cultures reflected in adverts which took a negative stance.
It said warnings not to drink more than two or three units of alcohol day are seen as unrealistic by many 18 to 25-year-olds.
The young people did, however, identify with adverts which promoted alcohol as a fun, social habit.
The project found that alcohol played a significant part in forming a "group identity" and that drinking and alcohol-related stories played an "important role" in binding different social groups together.
Professor Christian Griffin, who led the research team, said the government had to take action.
She said: "Top of my list would have to be to stop demonising and making generalisations about young people and their drinking. We also need to listen and incorporate their views and perspectives."
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