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Just what the Doctor ordered or smart advertising? - Posted by: HostHelp at 09.15, October 2 2017

Out of Manchester, UK today.  Jay Brown, the boss of an alcohol delivery firm named 'Drink Doctor' has been ordered to change its image by advertising watchdogs who claimed he looked too much like a real medic.

The company delivers beer, spirits, wine and shots each weekend until 7am to customers caught out by closing times of their local off-licences.  Mr Browne from Drink Doctor in his tongue-in-check vehicle, named ‘Boozebulance’ can be contacted via his mobile or landline both featuring the numbers '999', which were highlighted in red.

(We also noted the personalised number plate!)

Read the full article here: Daily Mail UK - “Drink Doctor”

Mr Browne has a point. The idea of alcohol as medicine is not new. The toast “Let’s drink to your health” has it’s origins in this concept.  As historian W. J. Rorabaugh wrote, Americans in the early 18th century classified whiskey, rum and other liquors as "medications that could cure colds, fevers, snakebites, frosted toes, and broken legs, and as relaxants that would relieve depression, reduce tension, and enable hardworking labourers to enjoy a moment of happy, frivolous camaraderie."

We’ve moved on, sensibly recognising that liquors may not necessarily be helpful in mending broken legs! We recognise along with the pro’s of alcohol use, there are significant con’s to alcohol abuse. The old adage “Everything in moderation” has its place in New Zealand’s alcohol harm reduction strategies.

HostHelp has two points.

1. Mr Browne, during the ASA inquiry claimed he handed out NHS (National Health Service) leaflets to customers who are drinking too regularly and refuse to serve those who are too drunk. “We actually send out leaflets to those who we suspect are alcoholics.”  Unless Mr Browne has a substantial medical degree in detecting problematic alcohol use (and he may have!), we would recommend that ALL “Drink Doctor” deliveries include information on seeking help, considering the nature of his business. Popular self-help websites, example here have advice that “Alcoholism is NOT defined by what you drink, when you drink it, or even how much you drink. It’s the EFFECTS of your drinking that define a problem.”

2. On a Friday morning in New Zealand, approximately 18880 kilometres from Mr Browne’s business in Manchester, UK this writer is aware of “Drink Doctor” and the service they offer, so I can’t help pondering if there was a hidden agenda to this news article.  Did Mr Browne self-report his falling foul of the Authorities to an eager Daily Mail reporter as a smart business advertising incentive? Now that you have read this HostSpeak article, you too are aware of the “Boss of alcohol delivery firm Drink Doctor is told to change its image because the fake ambulance, flashing light and First Aid symbol are too much like a real medic”

Would a similar service in New Zealand be tolerated, entrepreneurship, lawful or just plain unviable?

Are web-based news articles the free, smart, business advertising forums?

Let us know your opinion on Facebook or Email us directly.

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Mr Browne decked out his white Landrover Discovery with a mock flashing light, heart rate flat line and even a First Aid-like symbol to jokingly portray his dial-a take-out firm as a rescue service for late night drinkers.

But it attracted a complaint that using medical terms and imagery to promote an alcohol delivery service was inappropriate and irresponsible, sparking an inquiry at the Advertising Standards Agency.  It also condemned the Drink Doctor Facebook page, which featured a busty nurse in a skimpy uniform and said the branding inferred alcohol was necessary and indispensable and provided 'therapeutic qualities.'