Have you ever wondered if alcohol is as dangerous as some say it is? And if so, then why does our society support it so much? Annie Grace shares facts and statistics that may or may not surprise you. Learn about the tricks and secrets that the marketing and advertising industry uses to fool you into thinking drinking will make you sexy.

Download EP:162 Transcript

Is It Dangerous?

First of all, let’s just establish how truly dangerous it is. If you look at all illegal drug overdoses every week, illegal drug overdoses, 327 people are killed in the United States per week, that’s a statistic as of last year. And all prescription drug overdoses, more people actually die these days from prescription drugs than illegal drugs, it’s 442 people per week.

Alcohol-related deaths are 1,692 people per week from alcohol. That’s according to the Centers for Disease Control. The World Health Organization recently said that it has surpassed AIDS as the number one killer for men ages 15-59. It is one of the world’s number one leading preventable causes of death.

Secondary Dangers

If you look at the knock-on effect, we’re just talking about the individuals who are drinking, if you look at the knock-on effect, it’s horrific. Over 50% of car accidents involve alcohol, one in 10 drivers on the road every night and weekend are drunk, 75% of child deaths resulting from abuse have alcohol involved. And if you are looking at men who are convicted of child abuse, they are 10 times more likely to be alcoholics than not.

Any amount of alcohol is dangerous, and that is again just saying that we’ve held this substance up somehow as something that it really, truly isn’t. I think the answer comes from a few areas.

Not Common Knowledge

When I was writing my book, This Naked Mind, my editor, she’s in her late 20s, and I initially wrote the book and didn’t include a chapter on all the dangers of alcohol to the body, to the mind, to society, because I thought, “Okay, everybody knows that.” She wrote me, “Annie, you’re starting with the presupposition that I believe that alcohol’s harmful. And actually I don’t, my friends and I all think that it’s pretty good for you. It reduces heart disease,” which again, has been disproven in this whole study of all these different studies, they took the data, they examined it, no it doesn’t.

She said, “So I think you need to actually start from the presupposition that alcohol in moderation is good for you.” So I did, and I did all the research, and no. No, it’s not good for you. So why is it that it gets a free pass? I think there’s a few reasons.

Politics

Number one, it is taxed at a very high rate, so there’s a lot of money to be made in it. Most bars and restaurants actually make a huge amount of their money from sales of alcohol, because it’s marked up so heavily. If we just started to demonize alcohol tomorrow, I think that a lot of bars and restaurants would actually go out of business. That’s somewhat terrifying. So there’s this huge money thing around it. And I’m sure there’s lobbyists in big corporations and all sorts of stuff like that.

Alcohol and Advertising

I am much more qualified to talk about is the advertising and the social media aspect. I have a digital marketing agency, and we work with business-to-business clients, very much clients who are in large businesses. One of the ways that I was taught to market was to think about the product’s product’s product. That sounds weird, but what it really means is that

you aren’t selling what something is, you’re selling what it can do for you.

Marketing Explained

If we take perfume, for example, the product is a yellow liquid. If we put that on a poster, obviously nobody’s gonna buy that, it looks a bit like pee. The product’s product is a yellow liquid that smells nice. But again, you don’t see perfume advertisements saying, “Oh, buy this yellow liquid, it will make you smell good.” No, what you sell when you’re trying to sell perfume is you sell popularity, you sell sex really, at the crux of it, you sell the things that this nice-smelling liquid is supposedly gonna get you.

How Much?

I think that is done extensively in alcohol advertising. The most expensive advertisements of all times are for Budweiser and Guinness. Both as you would assume during the Super Bowl. But the most expensive ad of all time is 133,000 dollars per second spent on a Budweiser advertisement. They wouldn’t be spending that type of money if it didn’t work.

Learn More

Learn more about the role of alcohol and advertising in why we drink. Start reading This Naked Mind for free today.

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Special music thank you to the Kevin MacLeod Funkorama (incompetech.com)
Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License
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