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High Proof Pricing

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Alcohol has been a well-loved but problematic part of British life for centuries.

In the Government's latest efforts to tackle England's long-standing and complex relationship with booze, Ministers have unveiled plans for minimum alcohol prices in England and Wales, which could spell the end for cheap high-strength alcohol as well as a ban on multi-buy offers in supermarkets and off-licences.

Ministers believe the proposed 45p minimum price for a unit of alcohol will reduce total consumption by 3.3% and cut the number of crimes by 5,000 and hospital admissions by 24,000 each year, with 700 fewer alcohol-linked deaths annually.

Marketing ploys are rarely used in isolation, but as part of an integrated mix, which includes conventional advertising and is carefully designed to meet the needs of particular consumer groups.

Alcohol marketing in recent years has greatly increased in complexity and innovation. Marketing in conventional media remains significant with increasing expenditure on alcohol advertising. Disentangling and distinguishing the relationship between alcohol advertising and consumption is difficult. Complex and powerful dynamics exist and vested interests cloud the debate.

There might not be evidence that it actually works by any strong form of persuasion or manipulation. This view is subject to immense debate, if it were true; why is it the big supermarkets and most organisations invest heavily in advertising campaigns?

More accurate findings could only be obtained if the industry released comprehensive data on their advertising and promotional activities. Savings on health could be worth over £400 million annually and the reduction in crime saving nearly £13 million. Supermarkets selling cut-price alcohol are set to drive other retailers such as community pubs out of business.

Ed Miliband, Labour leader, voiced his support for community pubs. He said we must be dismayed by the undermining of the smaller businesses with cut price alcohol from supermarkets.

It can be argued that competition is good for the consumer, as it drives down prices and allows for more choice, but should this be at the expense of another sector of the industry?

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