‘Goggle-box’ inspired roadshow to visit Bolton to highlight damage of alcohol advertising to children

A ‘Goggle-box’ styled VW campervan will visit Bolton this half term to raise awareness among residents about the harm caused by day-time alcohol adverts seen by kids.

The specially adapted VW camper van will welcome passers-by at Victoria Square Market on Tuesday 25 October for a cuppa during which they will see alcohol ads typically viewed during daytime hours, especially during popular sporting events. Viewers will be able to comment on what they’ve seen and about the issue of alcohol advertising in general.

The roadshow has been organised by Manchester-based social enterprise Healthier Futures on behalf of Greater Manchester local authorities who want to address the impact of alcohol marketing and advertising on children, and will visit nine locations across the region.

The latest figures for Bolton show that alcohol led to 134 deaths (2014) and cost the local economy, including to the NHS, were £107million (2013). Alcohol advertising is seen as a key tactic of the alcohol industry to promote their products to a wide audience. With limited restrictions on advertising, children are often exposed to the adverts.

Deputy Leader of Bolton Council, Cllr Linda Thomas, said:

“As a local authority we are keen to work with our partners to protect the health of our residents. Alcohol can have a seriously damaging effect on our communities and alcohol marketing plays a major role in its consumption by younger people. The event on Victoria Square will give parents the opportunity to see just how common advertisements for alcohol are, how they are aimed at a younger market and to ask parents what they feel about this. It is hoped the event will raise awareness of the problem and encourage people to lend their support to improving the health of themselves and their children.”

Andrea Crossfield, Chief Executive of Healthier Futures said:

“The more advertising children see, the younger they start drinking and the heavier they drink. From a poll conducted last year we know that most people already agree a 9pmwatershed, before which alcohol adverts could not be screened on TV, is a good idea. We wanted an opportunity to raise awareness of this issue and encourage conversation with the public about the issue.”

The roadshow forms part of the wider ‘See What Sam Sees’ campaign based on an online video depicting Sam’s journey through a typical day, and the amount of alcohol advertising he is confronted with. To view the film follow the link See What Sam Sees Film.

Young people from across Greater Manchester took part in a series of See What Sam Sees activities in their colleges and youth groups last winter, where they urged MPs to address the issue of how alcohol advertising influences young people’s attitudes and behaviour.

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