WA’s ‘Spread’ ad the most effective at reducing alcohol consumption, new study suggests

An advertisement revealing how alcohol absorbs into bloodstreams and can cause cancer is the most effective alcohol education ad internationally, a Cancer Council Victoria suggests.

‘Spread’, created by The Brand Agency in 2010 for the Western Australia Alcohol and Drug Office, shows how drinking too much alcohol could heighten risks of cell mutations and cause cancer.

Published in the British Medical Journal Open, the study compared 83 alcohol education advertisements around the world, with ‘Spread’ reported as the most likely to motivate drinkers to reduce alcohol consumption.

The study involved 2,174 adults who regularly consume alcohol. The study subjects were shown three randomly selected ads from the pool of options before reporting the extent to which they felt motivated to reduce drinking following the viewing.

Each advertisement was scored on a five-point scale, with one being lowest and five being highest motivation.

‘Spread’ received a score of 3.77, performing best among male and females, all ages, as well as low and high-risk drinkers.

Todd Harper, Cancer Council Victoria’s CEO said the research shows how campaigns can be used to help inform the public of the long-term consequences of alcohol consumption.

“We’ve seen how effective campaigns around drink driving and short-term harms such as injury or violence have been in terms of changing our drinking habits, but in Victoria and the majority of the rest of Australia, we rarely see the long-term health effects of alcohol portrayed on our screens,” he said.

“This research highlights how effective a campaign like this could be in terms of motivating people to better understand the risks of alcohol consumption.

“These findings should now be used to plan campaigns that empower the community with knowledge about the harms of alcohol, so they can reduce their cancer risk.”

The study was conducted by the Cancer Council’s Centre for Behavioural Research in Cancer and funded by the National Health and Medical Research Council.

Cancer Council Victoria hopes to use the advertisement in a campaign later this year.

Nine’s Today Show Extra this morning built on Harper’s comments, discussing whether alcohol packaging could or should go in the same direction as cigarette advertising, following the study’s revelations.


Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.