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DrinkWise ‘not out to please public health lobby groups’ says marketing director

Alcohol industry backed organisation DrinkWise has rolled out two new instalments of its controversial ‘You Won’t Miss a Moment’ campaign with marketing director Simon Strahan insisting that pushing a message of moderation is more effective than urging abstinence.

The campaign, which launched in September last year to coincide with the AFL finals, ruffled the feathers of public health advocates including the Foundation for Alcohol Research and Education (FARE) which labelled it a “cleverly disguised beer ad”.

“DrinkWise has a very proud history around behavioural change campaigns, we go out to do the research. We’re not out to please public health lobby groups. What we’re out to do is to ensure the public maintains a healthy relationship with alcohol,” Strahan told Mumbrella.

“This is a long term initiative from DrinkWise focusing on a number of different events whether they be sporting, music or cultural. If an event comes up we will continue to partner with those events to ensure those attending, and those who do want to have a drink, do so in moderation because they’ll get the best experience from that event.”

The ads focus on a glass of beer, which feature a player in the bubbles, against a sporting event background. As the beer is consumed the commentary of the match becomes increasingly muffled. It ends with the tagline ‘You won’t miss a moment if you drink wise’.

It follows on from research which discovered that 25 per cent of people have missed crucial moments of an event because of excessive drinking. The TV ads show the commentary of a sporting event, this time cricket and NRL, becoming increasingly muffled the more a drink is consumed.

Responding to the criticism the campaign received last year, Strahan said it is to be expected given the not-for-profit body is industry funded.

“When you start to look at some of the public health campaigns in the past that say don’t do this, don’t do that, there hasn’t been a great response from the public. As part of this campaign we’ve done something that is slightly different and the results speak for themselves.

“We’re getting traction, people understand it, it’s a very clear message and the industry actually supports it. And the fact that the industry is giving up its own media assets for a moderation message makes it quite clear they’re very supportive and want to be part of the efforts to maintain a healthier drinking culture in Australia.”

DrinkWise finished up some tracking research through Quantum Market Research in April, which Strahan said showed close to 80 per cent of those surveyed had seen the initiative and “really liked it”.

According to Strahan: “57 per cent stated they had a positive change in their attitude to drinking at events from seeing this initiative”.

“We’re very happy that with message comprehension above 75 per cent, it is very clear what the message is, which basically dismisses a lot of those comments that came out last year,” said Strahan.

The research sampled the key markets where the campaign had run, asking questions about the campaign and around what public expectation s are in seeing moderation messages at events where alcohol might be served, Strahan explained.

“All our campaigns have to be relevant to the target market, they can relate to it and it’s something they can act on. DrinkWise only do campaigns that we are quite sure are going to hit the mark,” he said.

“We invest in research with the public before anything goes out to make sure it works. We might be seen to be pushing the boundaries, essentially it’s just ensuring it resonates really well with the public.”

Strahan said the public tune out “the parental no, no, no approach”.

“They want solutions to their problems and that’s essentially what DrinkWise is helping to provide, a strategy to help them in their path to consuming alcohol in moderation.”

Miranda Ward

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