Vicky Wireko, the writer
Vicky Wireko, the writer

Celebs cannot promote alcoholic drinks: My take

I love a local proverb in Twi, which when translated into English means that beads worth their salt will sell themselves. 

Advertisement

In other words, things or the outward show or demeanour of people or things of great esteem speak for themselves without necessarily requiring advertising more so high-profile endorsement.

Juxtaposing this proverb to what went on at the Supreme Court last month, precisely June 22, on upholding the Food and Drugs Authority’s ban on celebrities endorsing alcoholic drinks makes a lot of meaning.

Having worked for close to two decades with a multinational Fast Moving Consumer Goods company (FMCG) and with some understanding of intense competition in the market, celebrity endorsement most of the time is to elevate the product and create following for the brand.  
Sometimes, such endorsements could be dangerous for the brand should the endorser get on the wrong side of the law.

Personally, therefore, I try never to get swayed or excited by who endorses a product in advertising, but rather what is in the ingredients as well as the chemical components as detailed on the label and whether they are good for my use.  After all, it is usually said that we are what we consume.

It is in the light of such thoughts and understanding that I could not agree more with the Supreme Court’s upholding last month of the FDA ban.

One has lived long enough to see the influence of high-profile personalities on the younger generation. Their way of talking and or dressing is enough to carry a crowd with them. 

Good or bad, the youth and sometimes even the older generation are quick to copy and paste because of a personal liking for an endorser or promoter and not necessarily the good of the product or service they are paid to advertise.

Alcoholism

By a majority decision therefore, the Supreme Court showed its agreement with the FDA’s directive.  The essence of this move originally by the regulator is to prevent minors from getting hooked on alcoholism as something glamourous.

My little research informs me that “Like all drugs, alcohol can damage the body, especially if drank heavily every day or in binges.”  

Research further explains that drinking alcohol is a health risk regardless of the amount while concluding that “drinking alcohol in any amount carries a health risk with low for moderate intake, and higher as the amount consumed goes up.”

One guesses that it is more of the risk involved in promoting or glamourising alcohol drinking that in 2015, the FDA, with a mandate to regulate the food and drugs sector,  came out with a regulation that barred “well-known personalities or professionals in the use of alcoholic beverage advertising” by way of endorsement.

Years later, in 2022, a section of the creative arts constituents, not happy with the regulation, filed a writ at the Supreme Court claiming the regulator’s 2015 directive was discriminatory against their industry and in contravention of Articles 17(1) and 17(2) of the Constitution which guarantees equality before the law, thus prohibiting discrimination against persons on grounds of social or economic status and occupation.  

Taxes

Over the years, governments after governments have shown concern about the contribution of lifestyle choices including smoking and excessive alcohol and their cumulative effect on the health of citizens, especially as the main causes of non-communicable diseases, such as hypertension, stroke, diabetes and cancers.

Consequently, national budgets have sought to elevate the taxes and duties on products, such as alcohol and cigarettes, to make them expensive to buy.  

That somehow is a good measure to discourage producing or importing such goods.

For a community which thinks about its future generation, the ruling is a welcome one.  The lifestyles and morality of our younger generation must be of concern to all and that is why laws and regulations that directly or indirectly protect their sanctity at that younger age need to be guarded.

Indeed, in some countries for example, children under the age of 18 years are not allowed in shops that sell alcoholic drinks.  That regulation is for a good reason.  

The closest to that is the advertising tag lines used by our alcoholic beverage companies to the effect that some of their drinks are not for children under 18.

In that same breath, those companies also warn the consuming public to drink responsibly.  It is in order therefore for the regulator to support the conduct of drinking alcohol in our society, and hence, the ban on endorsement. 

Advertisement

To some of us, the prohibition on using celebrities as advertising faces of alcoholic drinks should not be misconstrued as discriminatory or spoiling someone else’s business.  

A look around suggests that there are plenty of supporting initiatives that our celebrities could channel their energies, seeing the kind of crowds they pull when they perform.  How about being the faces of an “eat well and live long” campaign for the Ghana Health Service?    

It is time that they channelled some of their positive vibes into serious nationwide campaign and education on including fruits, vegetables and nuts in our daily diets.  

The Ministry of Health and the Ghana Health Service should be happy to sign contracts for health promotion endorsements to cut down on health bills. 

Writer’s E-mail:[email protected]

Advertisement

Connect With Us : 0242202447 | 0551484843 | 0266361755 | 059 199 7513 |

Like what you see?

Hit the buttons below to follow us, you won't regret it...

0
Shares