By Alison Douglas, Chief Executive , Alcohol Focus Scotland
Alcohol is everywhere. Whether we want to drink or not we are surrounded by constant prompts that alcohol should be part of our life, and never more so when it comes to celebrations and gift giving.
And although the alcohol industry have long objectified and sexualised women in their advertising, it seems they’ve recently started targeting women more directly, linking alcohol to women’s friendships, feminism and empowerment.
At a time when alcohol-related deaths remain higher in Scotland than the rest of the UK, alongside unrelenting promotion of Prosecco, pink gin and skinny lager, we need to question that everyday drinking is normal and desirable. It is against this background that the new #dontpinkmydrink campaign, which seeks to call out aggressive marketing of alcohol to women, was launched.
So this year we challenge you to join us in highlighting cynical examples of marketing, and help us to call out the retailers and producers letting them know that we won’t endorse their products.
You can support the campaign by sharing pictures of aggressive advertising, marketing and merchandise which targets women on social media using the hashtag #dontpinkmydrink.
And what about ringing the changes by using our purchasing power? We can all think twice about choosing to buy gimmicky alcohol-themed gifts and cards. In the first half of this year we have Valentine’s Day and Mothers’ Day and in the lead up to both we are bombarded with marketing of every kind from every direction, including alcohol. But why not choose differently this year, rather than a gift with an alcohol-theme could you treat those you love to some rest and relaxation time to themselves, or find something you can enjoy together?
We have previously seen the power of the consumer in calling out retailers for misguided products and promotions, with items being removed from sale. If we can build enough support for #dontpinkmydrink and challenge the normalisation of drinking we may see producers and retailers change in response.
At Alcohol Focus Scotland, we also hope that raising awareness of the power and prevalence of alcohol marketing will help build support for better regulation, which the Scottish Government has committed to consulting on as part of its new alcohol prevention framework.