I participated recently at a football tournament which took place inside Beer fest Asia 2011 in Singapore. What struck me was that it has become such easy an association - beer and football. A strange mix of a healthy option of playing sports, while on the other hand associated with alcohol that is a root cause of illnesses. Let’s take a step back and think about this strange association!
In which way does the association go? It is widely agreed that beer companies target football viewers. The three most popular beer brands in Singapore, Heineken, Carlsberg and Tiger, all target the male football fan as an important part of their advertising campaign. However, to a lesser extent, sports clubs bring newcomers to their clubs by offering alcohol. An example hereof is a certain organization in the US which wants to make football -or for them ‘soccer’- popular by associating the product more with the sport by offering “soccer newbies” free beer while introducing them to the sport.
Should we allow such a strong connection between alcohol and football? Is it justified that large beer companies sponsor sports events and major leagues? It is clear to see that their advertisements encourage people to consume more beer. A similar case to this one existed between F1 and cigarette companies. Even though, through public pressure, an advertisement ban has been imposed on this sponsorship, F1 still found other willing backers. In France there is already such a law which bans most alcohol advertising.
The association of beer and football has become an easily made association and it is interesting to think about its implications. Should beer manufacturers be more conscious in how they channel their advertisement or should we take our own responsibility in what we consume? Where is the line between a healthy and responsible state and a nanny-state?