Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Pretend You're Drunk, Like Grown-ups

Alberta liquor stores are selling a children's non-alcoholic beverage called Robby Bubble, a fruity juice drink. You'll never guess who is selling this product! It's a wine-making company called Soare sekt a.s., out of the Czech Republic, and it's distributed in Canada by Authentic Wine and Spirits Merchants. The beverage comes in a champagne-style bottle with the words "Party, Party" on the label. The product's slogan is Celebrate like the grown-ups. MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, are speaking out against the sale of this as well.

How insane and how dare MADD to condemn such a fine product and suggest it will encourage kids to start drinking alcohol some day. Boy, talk about misplaced energies. The next thing you know they'll be protesting against the delightful Captain Norgan Fun Juice for Kidz, or the Oxyconteen Power Candy. Alcohol companies are after all only trying to make the trip to the liquor store a family experience, and what is wrong with that? Kids know there's a juicy treat there for them, so that can't be bad.

Seriously, there's well researched marketing psychology behind this, well of course there were the candy cigarettes, which many of us "smoked". Kids after all imitate adults in pretty well everything, from playing doctor, teacher, fireman to actor, and that's ok. However, associating something enjoyable with the idea of a trip to the liquor store, which is otherwise adult territory, seems like a bit of an insidious and subconscious lure for unsuspecting kids. Humans like to revisit places where something pleasant, or some treat originated, in other words, happy memories. It's a psychological association, and habit or tradition, where you're buying happiness.

So far Robby Bubble is not on Newfoundland and Labrador liquor shelves, only in Alberta. Mothers Against Drunk Driving are right to protest this. Company profits are the driving force to get marketers to come up with schemes, new and/or old, to protect and increase revenues from previous years. Ensuring that a new and young generation has a fun or party image of drinking will help increase the likelihood that future company "prophets" will be, well, staggering.

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