Getting Blokes To Do Some Thinking About Their Drinking

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It’s fair to say that, across the UK, the majority of people like the occasional drink. But when occasional becomes habitual, as it does for a lot of blokes of a certain age, it can store up health problems.

So, time to wheel out another predictable alcohol awareness ad for responsible drinking body, Drinkaware, then? Nope – we don’t like predictable ads at Leith. Plus, as we discovered very early on in this project, this was one tough task that needed a different kind of creative approach…

Basically, at our focus groups during the early concept stage, it became clear that middle-aged blue-collar blokes who drank consistently through the week (our key target audience here) were resistant to any form of advertising – especially when it came to their health.

In short, they just didn’t like being told what to do and, on balance, didn’t think what they were drinking was any kind of a problem – even though the medical evidence suggested otherwise. So, to get round that, we decided to be as honest as we could in tackling the issue.

At the heart of the campaign are very ‘up-front’ regionalised radio ads which talked to blokes in a conversational way to try and get them to think about their drinking occasions through the week – ending with a suggestion (and not an instruction) to consider cutting back.

Supporting radio was a print campaign that again prompted blokes to consider/count up their weekly drinks, with specific reference to the ‘drinking occasions’ they would know all too well. And again, we were careful not to come across as threatening or moralising.

The print then tracked into online, supported by online ads, which drove drinkers the campaign landing page showcasing a series of short animated films – written and directed by Leith – which showed them the effects of alcohol on your body; effectively a look ‘under the hood’.

With back-end strategic research at the outset of the project, PR and support from Drinkaware funders and partners to extend the campaign reach and impact, this can quite rightly be called a heavyweight integrated campaign.

But will it alter people’s drinking behaviour? Well, it’s too early to say, but we’re confident that, working closely with our client Drinkaware, we can use this work as a platform on which to steadily build momentum and bring about the cultural change needed for a healthier approach to alcohol.

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