Advertising, marketing and peer pressure
Young people in Ireland could be forgiven for thinking that alcohol is central to enjoying life. We use it to relax, to socialise, to celebrate, to commiserate, to forget, to welcome people, to say goodbye to people, to try and belong… it can often feel like there is very little we do that does not involve alcohol!
It’s no surprise that at some stage, most young people are put under pressure to drink. Or, sometimes, if they are already drinking, they are put under pressure to drink even more.
The pressure is applied in many different ways. There is direct pressure from friends encouraging them to “ah, go on”. There is the pressure they put on themselves, when they look around and see a lot of their contemporaries drinking. It’s natural that they don’t want to feel left out.
Another particular area of pressure for young people is from alcohol advertising and marketing. Alcohol brands sell the message that their products are key to having fun, being popular, relaxing, being attractive, celebrating and are a crucial part of our own ‘personal brand’ and lifestyle.
If we were to believe the advertising alone we would think alcohol was a miracle product with absolutely no downside! We see none of the risks and none of the reality of what can actually happen if we drink too much.
There’s no way to avoid alcohol advertising, but we don’t have to buy the idealised version of drinking that they are trying to sell us.
It might be hard to believe, but 20% of Irish adults don’t actually drink alcohol at all. That’s one in every five people you meet. And of those who do drink alcohol, not everyone drinks too much or too often – some adopt a low-risk approach to alcohol. (link to Low-risk part of document)