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How Drinkaware made young drinkers more responsible

How Drinkaware made young drinkers more responsible


‘Why Let Good Times Go Bad?’ is a five year £100m campaign to challenge the social acceptability of drunkenness among young UK adults, run by alcohol awareness charity Drinkaware in partnership with more than 40 drinks industry companies and Government.  

Targeted at 18-24 year olds, the campaign warns of the risks of binge drinking and encourages drinkers to adopt smarter drinking tips such as eating before drinking, pacing alcoholic drinks with water or soft drinks, and looking after mates.


Young adults (18-24) are often seen to be the worst offenders when it comes to binge drinking and alcohol misuse.  Our research shows they have specific attitudes towards alcohol, and they:
• Don’t consider they drink too much
• Don’t think they are at risk from their behaviour
• Don’t identify with the term ‘binge drinking’
• Often think other people drink more than they actually do

Our challenge is to deliver an impactful, multi-partner campaign, culminating in a month of activity during September/October.  The campaign is committed to delivering £20m media value, with £15m of this to be achieved via "in kind” support from industry partners.  The remaining £5m will be achieved by outdoor and digital means with clearly evidenced value attached.


The ‘Why Let Good Times Go Bad?’ campaign is aimed at ‘irresponsible shamefuls’, which is an audience segment of the 18-24 year old audience, characterised by their tendency to:
• unintentionally get drunk
• regret their behaviour the following day
• feel embarrassed being drunk in front of others
• blame their behaviour on alcohol rather than themselves

The campaign aims to speak to this audience in a peer-to-peer voice and support sensible drinking behaviour, whilst creating ‘talkability’ among the target audience.  The aim is to spark the audience’s interest, increase their knowledge and change their behaviour.


The campaign brings together the collective expertise of industry marketers to tackle alcohol misuse, specifically binge drinking, in the UK.  The components in the delivery of the 2010 campaign were:
• Outdoor advertising
• Activity in on trade, off trade and producers
• Digital
• Communications
• Public Relations

The campaign aimed to reach consumers at three key stages:
• Before they go out
• During the evening
• The morning after


The nationwide campaign, funded by voluntary contributions, is delivered through advertising, media, social networking, packaging and crucially, at point of sale in stores, pubs, clubs and bars.  

In its second year, 2010, the unique partnership between alcohol producers and on and off trade retailers delivered:

• On trade- more than 5,000 pubs promoted a combination of campaign posters, beer mats, menus, fridge stickers and mirror vinyls.
• Off trade- 6,500 supermarkets, off licences and convenience stores featured neck collars and shelf barkers with the campaign logo and messaging.
• Producers- over 13 million neck collars and on-pack campaign branding.
• Outdoor media valued at £5m, including 10,000 phone boxes, 18 train station concourses and throughout 17 shopping centres across the UK.
• Digital- a bespoke campaign page on the Drinkaware website, campaign banners on partner sites and a Facebook app generated 32,000 monthly active users.
•  PR- national, regional and online media coverage generated advertising value equivalent of £329,059 and 281,000,325 opportunities to see.
• National Union of Students (NUS) - as part of a partnership with NUS, Drinkaware reached 2.4 higher education students by delivering the ‘Why Let Good Times Go Bad?’ campaign to 120 students’ unions. Activity ranged from the display of posters, mirror vinyls, bar runners and fridge stickers to the use of taxi cards ensuring students got home safely and a number of club nights themed on the 'wingman' execution.  

This activity forms part of a wider relationship with NUS, which will see the WLGTGB messaging influencing alcohol related structures and practices across students unions and universities.


An independent evaluation, conducted by Millward Brown, following the 2010 activity found that:

• Drinking behaviour has become more responsible since 2009, with an increase in the adoption of the ‘alternating’ and ‘pacing’ tips.*  
• 70% of the target audience say the advertising would make them consider their drinking behaviour.  
• 77% of respondents claim to have already adopted at least one of the tips used in the ‘Why Let Good Times Go Bad?’ campaign.
• 74% say they are likely to follow the tips in the future, compared to 60% in 2009.
• The tip most likely to be adopted is ‘eat before you start drinking’.

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