By law alcohol companies in the country are only allowed to advertise at the point of sale, but most of the popular brands manage to advertise themselves thorough indirect methods, which might entail coming up with products such as clothing range, mineral water, music albums and exclusive merchandize with the same name. These products are then marketed aggressively to improve the visibility of the brand. Alcohol is shown as the part of attractive lifestyle, within the reach of normal aspirations that the nation’s youth may harbour. The companies use billboards ads of these surrogate brands, to display punch lines and brand logos, which encourage drinking. This is a highly convoluted way of doing things. Why can’t the alcohol companies send out their message directly?
Occasionally we get to see articles in the print media, which accuse alcohol companies of indulging in surrogate advertising. But why! Why are the alcohol companies being blamed for surrogate advertising? In a just society, every company, whose product can be sold legally in the market, also has the right to advertise its products. Alcohol is freely available in the country, even in areas where there is prohibition. Prohibition did not work when it was imposed in USA, and it certainly does not work in India. In every city, town and village drinks are available, in most places it is available legally, and in few pockets of prohibition, places like Gujarat, it can be had from the friendly neighbourhood bootlegger.
In fact, the government of India is itself the largest manufacturer and distributor of alcohol based drinks. In New Delhi, the state government is running majority of the hard drink shops. When the government itself is selling liquor in the country, then why does it place a ban on its advertising. In fact, a ban on advertising of liquor is a gross violation of people’s fundamental right of free speech. The manufacturers of beer, wine and other hard drinks have as much right to free...
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