Re: Labatt cancels sponsorship of HRM events (Nov. 19, 2012)

November 21, 2012

Re: Labatt cancels sponsorship of HRM events (November 19, 2012)

We support the development of an HRM Municipal Alcohol Policy and the direction it will provide on sponsorship of community events.  With the growing evidence linking alcohol advertising with increased community consumption and with the particular vulnerability of  our youth to such ads, it is time. As we know, alcohol advertising takes many forms, event sponsorship just one;  in magazines,  newspapers, bus shelters and billboards, and with social media, alcohol advertising is extremely big business.  It moves product, - it “sells”.

This article shows how our current language confuses the issue and causes frustration.  While the words “sponsorship” and “donation” are used interchangeably in this article, they mean very different things. Sponsorships are often done by business as a marketing budget expenditure, with contractual obligations to fulfill when receiving sponsorship. There is a cost/benefit analysis done.

Donations involve monies provided with no conditions. Usually there is only a quiet contribution towards what is deemed a worthy cause.  Considering the significant dollar value of brand recognition alone in naming rights to an annual HRM event, is it really a donation or a strategic marketing expenditure?

Bridgewater, Wolfville, Antigonish and Truro have undertaken this process already.  HRM stands to benefit from the clarity that will lead to a conscious determination of the best way to minimize harms of a commodity, alcohol,  that we accord a legal role to play for consenting adults (19+) in this province.

IFNS Executive Director