Gambling with my morals – By @ConorHamill4

Gambling with my morals

On my first day at SCA I was presented with a question regarding my willingness to work on what could be considered ‘controversial’ brief material such as gambling or alcohol ads. My initial response was one of complete moral abdication as I envisioned myself in a 40th floor glass office telling my creative team to create a campaign which would make children worldwide want to start drinking Pravha beer. However, this did not seem to fit with the image I had in mind when I started my application for this course. This coupled with my less than moral and quite reprehensible initial reaction to the question left me thinking whether I would be able to sleep at night knowing Jonny aged 14 was sipping on a cold one as a result of my brilliant creative work. 

However, the question remains as to how effective advertising is in persuading people to do things they would not do otherwise. Most great ads convince the audience why they should choose a certain brand of product over another, not that using toothpaste is in fact what they should be doing. It is a competition between brands to become the product of choice for those people who already have pre existing habits and desires which involve the purchase and use of such commodities. Ariel did not convince me to start washing my clothes it merely convinced me that it was the best at getting the job done. 

Similarly gambling and alcohol ads only appeal to those who have a desire to engage in both damaging activities and such ads allow those punters to develop a brand-based preference on which to mould a personality trait. ‘Mines a Heineken, I love Dutch beer!’, ‘I would never use Ladbrokes I don’t trust their accumulators’. People have and always will gamble and drink, creative ads only exist to try and sway members of these communities to choose one service rather than the other.Pravha launches debut UK ad campaign | Grocery Trader

There are enough counter ads to dissuade people from engaging in such things and if I was assigned a brief for such a campaign I would put as much effort into that as I would a campaign for Jack Daniels. 

However, I do believe that people will always underage drink, and people will always start gambling. Therefore, it’s my job to try and convince people that my brand makes these experiences better. Whether or not that is true is irrelevant as for example Heineken and Amstel are both brewed in the same factory with the same quality of ingredients. Regardless of this, both have completely different advertising strategies and brand images. As a result, some Heineken drinkers would never be seen dead with a pint of Amstel.

 So, if Jonny aged 14 wants to drink a beer, the least I can do is persuade him to pick a nice one.

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