Advertising alcoholic drinks is legal…but is it ethical?
Alcohol is a legal substance, enjoyed by millions without harm to themselves or others. On the other hand, alcohol is a drug which is abused, resulting in ruined lives, violence, and sometimes death – to the user or someone else. How do alcohol beverage producers navigate a vastly divergent customer base to safely and responsibly advertise their products to their target markets? The law permits the promotion of alcoholic drinks, unlike tobacco products, whose advertising or promotion is prohibited through any direct or indirect means by the Tobacco Products Control Act 1993. While both products can be addictive and have potential health risks, there are some key differences that contribute to the disparate regulatory approaches. Let’s look at the ethics of liquor advertising.