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Friday, 24 February 2017

Breaking news: the Pope is a Catholic

Say 'please' ...
I read on the Alcohol Research UK website that a study has indicated that posters encouraging moderate drinking are largely ignored in a pub environment. Well, knock me down with a feather!

Dr Daniel Frings, Associate Professor of Psychology at London South Bank University, who led the study, said, "On average, our Pub-Lab volunteers aimed nearly eight times as many glances at their own drinks than at responsible drinking posters." Well, obviously. You don't go to pubs to read posters; you go for a drink.

I haven't wasted any money researching this, but I think I can state with some certainty that at football matches, fans spend very little time reading the adverts all around the edge of the pitch. Any cash-strapped university department that would like to charge the FA a small fortune for researching this phenomenon is welcome to the idea.

Why aren't we avidly reading these posters?
  • The 'moderate drinking' message has become somewhat self-defeating. Many people don't believe the 14 units per week limit that the anti-alcohol campaigners vacuously chant. I have written a number of times before, most recently here, that the limits are largely discredited, and rightly so. If one part of your message lacks credibility, then so will the rest.
  • People often don't notice posters, especially when there are so many displayed, or there are other visual distractions such as pictures or television, with the result that individual posters just get lost. CAMRA beer festivals make the same mistake; they put up far too many posters so that hardly any get noticed, let alone read.
  • Simplest of all: adults are bored stiff of being nagged, especially when they have gone out to enjoy themselves.
There could be some money in this: I wonder how you go about getting a grant for researching "the bleeding obvious"?

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