Food adverts are intended to inform and entertain while increasing sales of the product.
Bad adverts do the opposite. They just entertain, misinform and sometimes mislead in order to increase sales. After watching such adverts you are left feeling cheated. I believe you know what kind of adverts I am talking about.
They convey something that seems to contradict tenets of truth. When you watch them again and again you come to realise how misleading they are. It is unclear how such misleading adverts are allowed to be aired.
For example there is an advert running on Kenyan TVs promoting a ‘Healthy Vodka’. The advert starts by subtly sending a message that unhealthy drinks kill and cause family breakdown. This is in reference to the local un-regulated and illegal spirits that are adulterated with poisonous chemicals. Such spirits and related alcoholic drinks have previously been implicated to cause impairments of organs leading to blindness and death. It is ok to call them unhealthy but those are just poisonous concoctions. The term unhealthy seems misplaced in this reference.
What I find really misleading in this advert is to insinuate that drinking Vienna Vodka will lead to healthy family and healthy nation. The photo of a happy family together with healthy kids is what drives me crazy. Actually alcoholic drinks are known to cause marriage breakdown rather than unity. Heavy drinkers are known to be poor workers undermining the idea the advert is promoting of a healthy working nation.
The terms healthy and unhealthy are erroneously used in this advert. Healthy food or drink refers to food or a drink that maintains and in some way improves human health.
Healthy foods and drinks are also associated with low calories, low fat content and less risk of causing chronic diseases such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension and heart problems.
Examples of healthy processed drinks include probiotic yoghurt and functional juices. These drinks have either micro-organisms or added nutrients that provides more than just nutrients. They offer extra benefits to health such as medicinal benefits.
Alcoholic drinks supply some nutrients to the body although in small amounts. By virtue of providing small amount of nutrients, it is not worthy to call them healthy drinks. This is because the nutrients they provide can be obtained from other foods in higher quality and in higher amounts.
It is true that moderate amounts of alcoholic drinks such as red wine are scientifically known to improve heart health mainly at old age. However, due to such benefit alcoholic drinks cannot be called healthy drink as they cause more detriment than good to health.
According to the definition of healthy drinks, alcoholic drinks cannot qualify as consumption of large amounts are known to cause chronic diseases such as liver complications and brain damage.
One gram of alcohol provides 7 kilo calories making any alcoholic drink a source of high amount of calories.
It is therefore misleading for a company to take advantage of the fact that Kenyans are informed on benefits of healthy foods to label an alcoholic drink healthy. What do you think?