David Beckham in Edinburgh Filming Haig Whiskey Advert

David Beckham, international footballer turned global icon, signed up for a new partnership with Diego Haig whiskey in April and was spotted recently in Edinburgh filming a new ad for the campaign. Beckham has a great brand appeal that has worked for him well off as well as on the football field. He’s an impressionable man and I’m sure Diego will hope the partnership will increase its premium whiskey sales to young drinkers, which is precisely why it is a shame that they’ve been able to get Beckham to work with them. Make an impression he most certainly will because of his appeal to school children and youngsters alike. Young kids need positive role models, one like Beckham himself and not be encouraged to drink whiskey.

Better known for promoting Armani aftershaves and Versace underwear, he has built himself up into a brand of his own. He and his wife Victoria are a kind of role model themselves with 15 years marriage and 4 kids, whilst at the same time managing the celebrity lifestyle. It’s ironic because Beckham lives more or less as a teetotal, how else does such a high level of sporting success happen? Being teetotal probably helps serve a more important goal and helps avoid being caught by passing paparazzi and thus protects his own brand image.

Using celebrities to promote drink is just one more reason why we should consider banning alcohol advertising. How different is it to the ads from the 1950s with John Wayne sponsoring Camel cigarettes, who focussed on the fact that they were mild cigarettes and didn’t affect his voice! Working with Diego, Beckham was quoted as saying that he was happy to be supporting a homegrown brand with 400 years of history. How long before we can look back and think it strange to see ads for alcohol in magazines and on TV?

If I could get 5 minutes to talk with Mr B., I’d encourage him to stick to the pants and scents. It’s not like he needs the money and by doing that he just might not encourage more youngsters into a life of drink.

World’s Most Expensive Footballer is Teetotal

Gareth Bale, who has just completed his (£86m/€100m/$130m) move from Tottenham to Real Madrid is quoted (Marketing Week) as being one of the most marketable sportsmen because of the fact that he doesn’t drink alcohol. Currently he outscores the current club’s star, Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of marketability and trust. I.e. far less likely to see Bale fall out of a nightclub in the early hours or be compromised by a drinking spree. As a result his appeal to marketers is likely to increase greatly as the likes of Audi, Coca Cola and Emirates (current sponsors of Real Madrid), tap into Bale’s home loving, clean living lifestyle.

Faith & Belief Essential Ingredients for Success

The other night I was watching TV and a documentary about the ‘King in the Car Park’, a story about the English King Richard III. The story was about a group of historians led by Phillipa Langley from the Richard III society who believed that they had uncovered enough evidence to suggest where they thought the body of Richard III was buried.

After a series of breaks the group were able to start digging in the car park of the local council offices under the direction of the local university Archeological department.
The odds of finding the Kings bones were remote to say the least, the experts each looked at this group of amateurs almost with a touch of mad conspiracy theorist about them.

But, Langley had total belief. She was totally convinced that she would find his body. In the car park, she was filmed standing on a letter ‘R’ painted on the tarmac probably for reserved, though she joked that it was for Richard III. This is in fact the exact location that they found his body and later confirmed by DNA.

When you give up something like drinking or smoking or attempt something that all around you say is impossible, you need faith and belief in yourself. Langley displayed such belief in herself, even when faced with a group who were highly skeptical.

It took many attempts for me to give up drinking. What normally happened was that I’d give up on a Sunday morning, convinced that I had to give up. By Thursday, 4 days later, I’d have convinced myself that drinking would be OK if I limited it to 4 beers. By the next day, Friday I was planning the weekend with friends and the idea of giving up was a distant memory. This happened every few months or so, until December 21st, 2006. That Sunday was different. For whatever reason this time I had to believe myself this time. I’d reached a Mt. Everest moment in my life. It felt as though the time had come to do something positive. The difference between this time giving up and all the previous failed attempts was that for the first time I had total belief that it was right to give it up and that the moment was now. Having that belief not only got me past that first Thursday, but also the second and third.

While watching this TV documentary it struck me how similar it was when I said I’d give up. Most people had heard it all before. I could see the quizzical looks from those around Langley and recognized them from those who were around me when I publicly stated I’d drunk my last drink. Nobody believed I could do it. This just fed my strength and helped me to believe more in myself, that I could actually do it.

Belief is like a plant, you have to feed it and nurture it. When you do, it grows and gets better and better and deeper and deeper. That belief has spread across many areas of my life. I’ve increased my confidence because I’ve been able to do something that I never thought it would be possible to do.

Reading stories like this, or comments people have written here on this and other blogs, you can see the common thread in each one – belief is at the core of every success story.

If, like me you’ve failed many times to give up drinking, you need to check how much you believe you can do it. When you believe in yourself you’ll be amazed at the doors you can open that just couldn’t open before when you didn’t.

Friends key to Help Beat Drink Problem

When you give up drinking, life changes completely. Suddenly you’ve made a break from the old habits of going out on the weekend and getting drunk with friends, to staying at home trying to come to terms with your decision not to drink. How successful you’ll be in giving up drinking can be down to many things, but most importantly how much support you get from friends and family. I saw the following Tweet yesterday about @SarahNHarding who’s band mates had decided to give up drinking in their up coming tour to support her in her bid to live a sober life.

The first few weeks of me giving up was hard enough, but similar support from family in particular kept me on the straight and narrow. Most of my mates supported me, but they weren’t in a rush to put down their beers to help out. That was OK, but it took me a while before I was able to brave a Saturday night out in town with them. Until then, the idea of clubbing and holding onto a mineral water didn’t appeal. But in time it did, and it was good to be back out, though this time life was a lot less stressful because I’d ditched the need to drink.

Friends and family are so important, don’t underestimate their support, in those early days, weeks and months seek them out and get strength from them. Close friends and family will be more than understanding in your need. No doubt you’ve helped them in periods of their life, so a little back to help you is OK.

I hope the Girls Aloud tour goes well, and of course in particular for a fellow non-drinker Sarah. I’m sure the rest of the group are going to learn something from abstaining from drink during that time as well. Maybe they will follow Sarah’s path? Good luck to them all. Living sober is such a worthwhile journey to be on.

Does Alcohol Turn People Into Rioters?

Watching the horrendous images on the TV showing young kids ripping into shops and looting the entire contents and girls bragging about riots make you wonder why it started and how it will stop. Is it because they are fuelled with alcohol, or because they have seen others on TV looting and apparently getting away with it. A strong motivator for some and once those around are doing the same there is enough social proof that the right thing is to do what everyone else is doing.

Does the fact that alcohol in the UK is cheap and relatively available give the necessary encouragement to join the crowd, especially to those who might have thought twice about becoming a rioter. Or is it something to do with a large section of school kids who have traveled through the school system, yet been unable to learn anything of substance except survive. And on leaving, find that they are unable to find work to earn enough to emulate the pop stars they see on their TV screens? Is seems it there is a growing X-factor or lottery or footballer lifestyles that kids dream of, all the successes without the necessary effort? What is it that sparks up kids to pick up a glass bottle and fight instead of a pen to apply for work?

I know I’ve asked many questions, I have to admit that I don’t have any answers.

Amy Winehouse Defeated by Alcohol & Drug Addiction

Sad today, on hearing the news today that Amy Winehouse had died from her drug & alcohol addiction. It can’t be easy to live with an addiction when you’re a celebrity and living in the public eye. It’s a very private thing to have to wrestle with your demons, I can only imagine how difficult even leaving the house must be for some. It can’t be easy to cope with something like addiction with paparazzi hiding in wait.

Amy was only 27 years old and in the prime of her life. Addiction is a cruel disease that doesn’t matter who you are nor where you came from. I don’t know whether or not she was truly looking to get off drugs and alcohol. But one thing is true, the hooks of addiction have a very strong hold and breaking free of them takes time and great effort. My favourite album, Back to Black.

Does Raising the Price of Alcohol Really Reduce its Take up?

At the moment everyone including the medical profession in the UK is shouting that you need to raise the price of alcohol to put young people off it. Really?! Targeting just the supply side is only one half; the other half is trying to stem the demand. The most effective way to lower the demand is to remove or restrict the advertising.

You only have to look at the mass marketing of alcohol in the UK and rest of the world to see that there is a common theme. There’s a customer born every minute, so they say and the advertising industry ensures that its glossy ads bring these new customers to their clients alcoholic drinks range, not their competitors. The alcohol ad industry is fierce, and competition to produce interesting and memorable ads is huge.

Carlsberg is well known for producing sophisticated TV ads that suggest if you drink Carlsberg; you’re probably drinking the best ‘Beer in the World’ and that you’re also sophisticated. Recently Carlsberg’s agencies have produced ads suggesting that if Carlsberg did night clubs, they’d be ultra cool, etc. And so the list goes on. Heineken is close behind with an admittedly very funny ad about a walk in fridge.

If you imagine that the product being sold was a cigarette, you’d be amazed that it was allowed. So why is a drug as equally harmful as tobacco, allowed to be advertised? Tobacco advertising has been banned throughout the US and Europe for a few years now, is it only banned because it pollutes the atmosphere of those near to smokers? What about the harmful effects of drinkers and the people who live or work around them? Just because there is no direct connection doesn’t lessen its impact.

At the moment the UK Government seems to think that the answer to reducing alcohol intake is to raise the prices of alcohol. Is raising the price really going to stop people from drinking? And is this the only way to reduce alcohol consumption particularly in young people?

Young people are so impressionable, and the thing that is going to make the most impression on them is not the price they have to pay, but taking away the images they are trying to achieve might achieve the same result without unnecessarily increasing the cost for that group of people who are responsible drinkers.