Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Diageo to fund alcohol education for NHS midwives

Every now and then I’ll be half-watching the news and something will stand out at me. Sometimes it’s interesting, sometimes controversial, sometimes just plain bizarre. More often than not it’ll be part of a food and drink PR story, a subject which inevitably makes my ears prick up more than most.

It happened when BBC News showed footage of Vince Cable meeting a landlord and he stopped for an interview in front of a huge poster for new WKD Purple – great placement for a drink which I had helped promote to Northern Irish consumers just days earlier.

It happened again a few weeks ago when George Alagiah asked me and millions of other viewers “is it all the fault of the Spanish cucumber?” as part of Germany’s ‘it’s not us it’s them’ tactic over the e-coli outbreak. Not a phrase you expect to hear on the 10 o’clock news!

And it happened again this week. “Diageo sponsors training of 10,000 midwives to advise pregnant women on the dangers of alcohol.” Seriously? Did I hear that right? Surely not…

Irrespective of the accountability argument of the world’s largest spirits company funding alcohol education for expectant mothers, if pregnant women (let alone midwives) do not know the dangers of drinking alcohol by now then something is seriously wrong.

PR stunt or not, I‘m not taking anything away from Diageo or their commitment to health issues (a six figure sum over three years). But there must be other initiatives that make better use of sought-after private contributions to NHS funding. Surely?!


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