Health advocate labels new campaign from DrinkWise as ‘outrageous and harmful’

A new safe drinking campaign from not-for-profit, independent organisation DrinkWise Australia has been slammed as “outrageous” by the director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute, who said he has “no doubt” it is going to be “harmful”.

Speaking on ABC radio’s Nightlife with Tony Delroy, Mike Daube, a professor of Health Policy at Curtin University said: “I think that’s an outrageous communication and that DrinkWise, which is an alcohol industry organisation, should be ashamed of themselves and they should withdraw that.”

He continued: “This is a campaign through social media and so on as far as I can see which is actually about promoting drinking. It’s telling people, and that can be young people because kids will be watching and looking at the internet and so on, it’s telling people how they should drink. It’s encouraging drinking.

“And sure, there’s the undercurrent that we’re trying to teach them to drink sensibly but I think this is the most outrageous campaign that I’ve ever seen purporting as public education and I’ve no doubt that it’s going to be harmful and I cannot understand how even an alcohol industry group could be running a campaign like that. I think it should be withdrawn before it starts.”

Delroy had Daube, who is also and director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute and the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth and Adam Ferrier, CumminsRoss chief strategy officer, on the show to discuss public health campaigns when the new campaign from DrinkWise, created by ClemengerBBDO Melbourne, was mentioned.

However, DrinkWise CEO John Scott said the the campaign challenges young adults to stop and self-reflect about how they are drinking telling Mumbrella: “Importantly, it acknowledges that most young adults will drink, but that it’s time to think about drinking properly to stay classy, be in control and use alcohol responsibly.

“There is a growing binge drinking culture amongst young people in Australian society today and we know 90% of 19-24 year olds currently drink alcohol.

“Drinking – Do it Properly has been designed to work. The extensive research process behind the campaign shows that young people are receptive to the message and the mechanisms we are using to reach them.”

Scott said the organisation is “really pleased” with the response to the campaign which launched yesterday.

According to the organisation it has reached over 600,000 Facebook users in the target demographic of 18 to 24, with the ‘How to Drink Properly’ 60 second video viewed over 80,000 times through social channels.

DrinkWise has also said 91 per cent of all discussion around the campaign has been classed as positive, with 7 per cent classed as neutral.

“We are incredibly excited about the uptake of the campaign amongst 18-24 YO after being in market for just over 24 hours,” said Scott. 

“There is a growing binge drinking culture amongst young people in Australian society today and we know 90% of 19-24 year olds currently drink alcohol.”

Daube’s comments can be heard 26 minutes into the show.

Miranda Ward



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