Alcohol companies’ “social responsibility” campaigns increase brand loyalty and positive perceptions of the products, without reducing alcohol-related harms, according to a critic of the industry.
“These campaigns provide alcohol companies with a great deal of PR opportunities, and make them look like a credible public health source with regulators, legislators and the public—it’s a huge problem,” says Sarah Mart, MS, MPH of the industry watchdog group Alcohol Justice. She spoke about the campaigns at the recent American Public Health Association annual meeting.
Recent social responsibility campaigns have included advertising and products associated with causes such as HIV/AIDS, LGBT equality, breast cancer, and natural disasters such as earthquakes and hurricanes.
During Breast Cancer Awareness Month in October, a number of alcohol companies run campaigns to associate their products with the issue, including Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade in support of the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and the Chambord “Pink Your Drink” campaign.
Belvedere Vodka promotes its special edition red bottle to raise proceeds for the Global Fund, which finances programs to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. The Absolut Pride campaign for LGBT equality featured a limited-edition rainbow-striped bottle of vodka.
Beedie Savage – President of Quantum Units Education