Friday, May 30, 2008

Drink like a man...


I don’t know what to make of the above advert, which I have seen a few times on my travels on London Underground. I am someone who is not a fan of alcohol. I don’t drink alcohol at all and am always wary of people who drink to excess. Alcohol is something that makes me very uncomfortable. So you would think that anything that encouraged people to drink less would be something that I might favour. But that advert troubles me. In part, I think it is because the advert is based around looks and image. I’m not sure anyone would aspire to look bedraggled like in the advert, but it concerns me that looks are a way by which we should judge ourselves or that others should judge us. I think it is the judgment that I see in the advert that troubles me.

I also don’t like the stereotypes that seem to underpin the campaign. What it says to me is that the underlying message (beyond the one of not drinking to excess) is that men are meant to look one particular way and women are meant to look another and there should be no ambiguity in that. But surely there is a lot of grey in how people look, or choose to look, and not all women look like ‘typical’ women or all men look like ‘typical’ men – not that I have any idea what ‘typical’ actually means. Perhaps it just reflects a view that as a society we are quite shallow and how we look is something that motivates us in many different and unexpected parts of our lives.

Don’t get me wrong, I think it is important that people are aware of the social, physical and emotional impact of alcohol consumption. I don’t have a problem with that being highlighted. I just feel distinctly uncomfortable with it being highlighted in this way. I would also ask if men could interpret this advert as telling them that “if you don’t drink like a man, you drink like a girl” and encourage them to drink more? I think this an unlikely scenario, but that is actually the flip side of the message in that advert.

Maybe it has achieved its aim by making me think – although as a non-drinker, I’m probably not really the target audience.

7 comments:

(no subject) said...

i agree that the ad is playing hugely on defined images of men and women, which is very segregating and is not what society needs. another thing that struck me about the add is that that "woman" doesn't look very manly. to me she looks like she could be either a woman with slightly manly features or a man in poorly done drag. which to me puts people down that look that way, as this is the picture you don't want to like, drinking or not.
i agree with you that anything that supports not drinking is a good thing, but i really do not like this ad, it went about things the wrong way.

Kahless said...

Yes, I would tend to agree with you on this.

titration said...

Yep that is totally inappropriate! Woh.

Spudgy said...

I know hardened female drinkers and none of them have ended up looking like a man! Whoever thought up this campaign is clearly in need of some 'real' research data.

Random Reflections said...

no subject - I agree. It isn't even a realistic portrayal of what they were trying to portray. I just feel very uncomfortable with this advert.

kahless - it's a very strange campaign...

titration - I am not sure I have found anyone who thinks this is a good or approriate way to put the message across.

spudgy - An excellent point! how may people will look at this advert and be able to relate it to anyone they know let alone themselves. People have to at least believe an advert for it to have an impact on them, particularly with a campaign of this nature. Will this encourage women binge drinking to reconsider. I am highly doubtful.

TOM FOOLERY said...

Don't like this advert campaign, total waste of film and paper in my opinion. Maybe it's been designed by someone with a strange sense of humour. I would be interested in what the rest of the small text says though.TFX

Random Reflections said...

TF - I can't remember what the small text said but next time I see it on the tube I'll try and have a read.

I'm sure someone earned a lot of money for this campaign.