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Strange bedfellows

Recently, we came across a conversation about the KFC Youth Foundation, which receives $1 from every $5 bucket of chips sold. The attempt at cause-related marketing has caused some to balk, due to the potential health concerns. In another example, recently liquor chain BWS raised eyebrows for partnering with Dry July, which some experts found inappropriate. The Dry July foundation maintained the funds and awareness were welcome.

These are just two cases of strange bedfellows united through the power of cause-related marketing. However, does the potential benefit outweigh any lateral concerns or contradictions, or are moves like these ones on the nose, or even downright Shonky? Share your thoughts below.

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Sporting events featuring images of strong fit athletes (usually hairy men) advertising beer. They don’t say that beer is good for you but aim for transference. Aside from getting their brand in front of young men who are likely to drink beer the aim is to continue the normalisation of the drinking culture. Normal young men are strong, masculine, go to the footy, like girls who dance in skimpy costumes in mid winter, and drink beer (quickly).

The monthly scandals of misbehaviour of stars of the game that are so often related to getting a skinfull is not something to be proud of but years of fines, bad publicity, threats, bans, training and awareness courses have done nothing to stem the tide.

Maybe if the tide wasn’t brown and bubbly the problem could be reduced. Maybe if the footy codes refused alcohol advertising that might happen. Fat chance!

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‘drinking culture’ in a myriad of variations refers to something that has been quite ‘normal’ (whatever that is) since time immemorial, much of which still widespread and in some cases with deep cultural roots today. I think referring to the behaviour of some segments of some communities as ‘substance abuse’ is more accurate …

My perception is this has far more to do with pervasive and sensationalist media than anything new, again, in the order of thousands of years … There’s rarely any articles about the hordes of sober people, because as Mr Schneier puts it, news is about stuff that hardly ever happens - the responsible majority don’t sell advertising …

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In relation to KFC, it may be positive that they now potentially acknowledge the impact over-consumption has on their customers. In an ideal world, this may result in changes to their products to make them more healthy. In a cynical world, it could be a marketing tool to increase sales…and make consumers feel good about eating junk food. The later would be shonky.

BWS may be different as through state laws, alcohol outlets have a duty of care…namely intoxicated consumers not being served. Maybe this is an extension of these existing provisions.

A side point is that if these campaigns have little or inadequate funding, linking up with potentially cashed up businesses provides monies to be able to get the programs in the main stream. Without such funds, the campaigns may be a tiny blip on the radar.

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The problem is much wider than those who watch football but Oz does seem to be of the far end of the scale internationally. Nor do I claim that only footballers get drunk and stupid, the louts that cause trouble and violence after closing time have many occupations.

Even if the incidence among the rich and famous is no greater than the rest their actions have unwanted effects though. Like it or not some people (14yo lads who are football mad for instance) look up to them and emulate them. It becomes part of the ‘boys will be boys’ excuse. It becomes part of a male bad behaviour pattern handed down to the next generation.

It isn’t just the influence of ‘heroes’ it is also the association of sport with booze. Many serious athletes are very careful of their consumption but the image of footballers is not that. Image counts for much more than reality here. That is what the vendors are riding on; the pictures, the presentation, the locker room and public bar chatter. It sells. It normalises.

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They are absolutely SHONKY. The aim is to make you feel that the unhealthy option (eg chips or alcohol) is somehow lessened or offset by the pretended philosophical actions of that company.
THEY AREN’T.
In the case of KFC, both you AND a charity would be better off if you donated $1 and went without the chips!
With BWS, refraining from buying alcohol would benefit both you and your wallet, allowing you to donate to a relevant charity AND still save money!
We all want to feel that we can indulge with an easy conscience. This is NOT an answer!

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