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In television commercials and magazine ads, Miller uses sex, and woman as a way to grab your attention and to sell the product. We all have heard the saying “sex sells” but how far can alcohol companies take it. In their latest commercials, Miller uses two very attractive female twins that argue about to positive aspects for why they drink Miller. One argues she drinks it for the great taste and the other because it’s less filling. This leads to a fight between these two very sexy twins ripping each others clothes off and wrestling around in a fountain of water; they strip each other down to just their underwear.
Alcohol advertising, especially in the broadcast media, represents the single greatest source of alcohol education for consumers. Beer and wine ads depict alcohol products as the ultimate reward for a football game well played or a job well done; they associate the consumption of beer and wine with financial success and romance; and in some cases, they explicitly encourage heavy drinking.
Creativity, big money, and more than a little finesse formulate a message that alcohol is a necessary ingredient to enjoy a sports event or a night on the town. How many people end the week with a nice cold beer? How many people drive to the club after consuming a few drinks? Although it may take you 15 minutes to get to the club, it only takes a few seconds to lose your life. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), about 3 out of 10 Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related accident at some time in their lives. Many don’t walk away from these accidents. In the Untied States, traffic accidents involving alcohol killed 15,935 people during 1998 alone.
According to NHTSA, there’s an alcohol related highway fatality in the United States every 33 minutes. In 1998 more than 300,000 people were injured in accidents involving alcohol. That’s an average of one person injured every 2 minutes. Despite serious public concern over the death and injury associated with drinking and driving over the last decade, it is not unusual for ads to associate drinking with driving and with other high-risk activities. Beer and wine coolers are ubiquitous components of a good time at the beach, on the white-water rafting trip, or on the ski slope.
In a 1987 study by media communication specialists, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety concluded that beer commercials link drinking and driving through references to beer with images of moving cars and references to the pleasures of beer with the pleasures of driving. Unfortunately, alcohol advertising remains a more significant alcohol educator than parents or the school system. Alcohol is the only drug for which knowledge about it as a drug decreases, rather than increases with age.
Even fewer 14-year-olds identified beer, wine, or liquor as a drug than did their 10-year-old counterparts, and the percentage of children who thought daily use of alcohol was harmful decreased 29 percent from the younger group. Nearly a quarter of the 208,909 TV commercials about alcohol in 2001 were more likely to be seen by teens than adults. The same study revealed that teens see more ads for liquor than they do for jeans, acne aids and athletic shoes. The ads appeared during 13 to 15 of the most popular teen shows including WB’s Seventh Heaven and Gilmore Girls. The average young person saw 245 alcohol ads in 2001.
Making the highest quality beer has been a passion of the Miller Brewing Company since its founder, Frederick J. Miller, began his brewing business in 1855. Since then, Miller Brewing has grown from a small local brewer to the second largest brewery in the U.S., with seven major breweries located across America. You might recognize their television commercial ads of football referees flagging people with made up penalties like “unbeermanlike” conduct for drinking a Budweiser rather then a Miller Light.
Their sales pitch of course is the infamous slogan “great taste, less filling, and half the carbs”. So will drinking Miller Light help me lose weight? I don’t think so. If you go to the bars a lot, then you know who the drinkers are because of their big beer-belly’s hanging out of their shirt. Drinking beer, if you ask me, can make a man look like he’s pregnant.
The history of Miller Brewing Company began in the mid-19th century, when a determined immigrant, Frederick John Miller, born November 24, 1824, brought his passion for beer to the United States. Miller, who had been a renowned German brewer since 1849, arrived in the United States and settled in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1855. In 1855, Miller purchased a small brewery called the Plank Road Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin for $2,300.
Through his determination and character, Frederick Miller began building his own American dream – barrel by barrel. He produced the finest quality beer, made from locally grown hops and barley, and using a unique brewer’s yeast that he hand-carried from Germany. (The yeast they use in our beers today is a descendant of that very yeast so treasured by our founder!) Before his death in 1888, Frederick Miller became one of the early pioneers of bottling beer. After his passing, Frederick Miller’s immediate family members continued his legacy, and guided the company with progressive, uncompromising character through two world wars and prohibition.
In 1903, Miller named its most popular beer, High Life, and the Champagne of Bottled Beer was born! Today, Miller’s Brewery in Milwaukee (and the historic Miller Valley) is the site of America’s oldest major brewery. The current chapter of Miller’s history started in July 2002, when South African Breweries purchased Miller Brewing Company, forming one of the largest brewers in the world, called SABMiller plc, with volume of more than 130 million barrels, operations in 40 countries and hundreds of brands. If you go to the Miller brewing company’s official website you can learn about the history of the company as well as the ingredients, how they make it and how they try and contribute to the community.
An excerpt from the website on Miller Light reads: “A great tasting, low calorie beer. Miller Lite, the first successful low-calorie brew, set the standard for all other light beers in 1975, and today it’s still brewed with the finest malted barley and choicest hops. A three time Gold Medal winner for Best American Light Lager at the World Beer Cup awards, Miller Lite has only 96 calories and 3.2 carbs per 12-ounce serving.”
Jean Kilbourne, a media lecturer/scholar wrote, “Alcohol advertising does create a climate in which dangerous attitudes toward alcohol are presented as normal, appropriate, and innocuous. Most important, alcohol advertising spuriously links alcohol with precisely those attributes and qualities happiness, wealth, prestige, sophistication, success, maturity, athletic ability, virility, creativity, sexual satisfaction that the misuse of alcohol usually diminishes and destroys.”
In another article, it said “Alcohol ads used to look like pictures from Playboy – women with big breasts and big hair designed to appeal to men. Now the models look like they have stepped out of fashion magazines and the message is that you can use alcohol to unleash your wild side.” from Smashed: Growing up a Drunk Girl, by Koren Zailckas, Random House.
Efforts to restrict alcohol advertising pit public health concerns against the economic interests of powerful institutions in a very direct way. Organizing and constituency-building are critical if we are to affect seriously the way the alcoholic beverage industry does business in nations around the globe. The very pervasiveness of alcohol problems lends itself to the development of powerful coalitions.
Advocates from alcoholism organizations, public health, medicine, youth groups, the religious community, public safety activists, women’s and ethnic minority organizations all have a stake in reducing the level of alcohol problems. Alcoholism and other alcohol-related problems are complex and there is no single or easy solution. Restricting or eliminating alcohol advertising will not end alcohol problems.
Bus such action will provide a greater balance in the kind of information the public receives about alcohol. Efforts to restrict or eliminate alcohol advertising will empower individuals to make informed choices about their use of alcoholic beverages without the undue influence of the glitz and misinformation so characteristic of alcohol ads today.
Borton, T., L. Johnson. The WEEKLY READER National Survey on Drugs and Drinking. Middletown, CT, Field Publications, Spring, 1987, pp. 17-21 Dunoon, D., Alcohol Advertising on Television: A Submission in Reply to the Australian Broadcasting Tribunal’s Discussion Paper, March, 1983. Kilbourne, Jean. “Are We Addicted to Alcohol Advertising?.” http://www.health20-20.org/. May 2000 The Light Beer Diet Brew Away Pounds Fast.” Harper’s Bazaar, October 1986. US Dept. of Health and Human Services: Sixth Special Report to the U.S. Congress on Alcohol and Health. Rockville, MD, National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, January 1987. Project SMART pamphlet. Washington, DC, Center for Science in the Public Interest, 1985.
Poem Fom MADD:
I Went To A Party, Mom
I went to a party,
And remembered what you said.
You told me not to drink, Mom
So I had a sprite instead.
I felt proud of myself,
The way you said I would,
That I didn’t drink and drive,
Though some friends said I should.
I made a healthy choice,
And your advice to me was right,
The party finally ended,
And the kids drove out of sight.
I got into my car,
Sure to get home in one piece,
I never knew what was coming, Mom
Something I expected least.
Now I’m lying on the pavement,
And I hear the policeman say,
The kid that caused this wreck was drunk,
Mom, his voice seems far away.
My own blood’s all around me,
As I try hard not to cry.
I can hear the paramedic say,
This girl is going to die.
I’m sure the guy had no idea,
While he was flying high,
Because he chose to drink and drive,
Now I would have to die.
So why do people do it, Mom
Knowing that it ruins lives?
And now the pain is cutting me,
Like a hundred stabbing knives.
Tell sister not to be afraid, Mom
Tell daddy to be brave,
And when I go to heaven,
Put Daddy’s Girl on my grave.
Someone should have taught him,
That its wrong to drink and drive.
Maybe if his parents had,
I’d still be alive.
My breath is getting shorter, Mom
I’m getting really scared.
These are my final moments,
And I’m so unprepared.
I wish that you could hold me Mom,
As I lie here and die.
I wish that I could say I love you, Mom
So I love you and good-bye.