Responsible Drinking Issues Around the world – The IARD Digest


Once a month, the drinks industry-funded International Alliance for Responsible Drinking, which covers alcohol policies worldwide, looks at what’s going on in-market to promote a more responsible role for alcohol in society.

The Government of The Netherlands unveiled a much-discussed new ‘National Prevention Agreement’ health initiative at the end of November, which will address harmful drinking, obesity, and smoking between 2020 and 2040. State Secretary for Health, Welfare & Sports Paul Blokhuis’s partnership initiative includes a range of control measures, including a ban on price promotions at supermarkets and new restrictions on alcohol advertising in sport. Heineken and Anheuser-Busch InBev were joined by the Netherlands Brewers trade association in supporting the initiative and will focus on harmful-drinking prevention efforts and promoting non-alcohol beer to younger consumers.

Pernod Ricard has launched the first chatbot for responsible drinking advice, which is directly integrated with Facebook Messenger for easy access. Consumers will be able to talk to the ‘Wise Drinking’ chatbot through their smartphones while socialising, allowing it to advise them and answer queries. It will also be able to estimate their level of intoxication with questions such as “What did you have to drink tonight?” and “Did you eat?” Pernod has also launched a new ‘responsible conviviality’ campaign in South Africa ahead of the festive season, which will encourage consumers to alternate their drinks with glasses of water. The 1-4-1 campaign distributes water in branded bottles at major social events, promoting water as the “drink to drink between drinks” across social media.

South African Breweries also launched a new responsibility campaign in December, releasing a forthright short film ‘Vuka’ on the consequences of underage and harmful drinking as part of its ’18+’ campaign. SAB & A-B InBev Africa corporate affairs director Zoleka Lisa said: “The purpose of the short film is to showcase how poor decisions affect the lives of teenagers, and to encourage more people to become a mentor and make a positive impact on the lives of our youth.”

Diageo and Heineken have also been active with drink-driving prevention campaigns in South Africa, the former’s ‘Drive Dry’ initiative partnering with the Johannesburg Metro Police Department for festive prevention operations in the city. Heineken has launched a local campaign as part of its international ‘When You Drive, Never Drink’ initiative, which will “test and measure drink driving reduction initiatives … in order to understand the causes of the problem … [in order to] help influence attitudes and … play a role in assisting consumers in making positive and safer choices”.

Heineken also launched the initiative in Tunisia this autumn, in busy spots in Tunis and shopping centres around the country. Participants walked along a miniature road obstacle course while wearing special intoxication-simulating “drunk goggles”, to experience the effects of alcohol on driving. Heineken ran a digital campaign on Facebook and Instagram to reinforce the message, as well as distributing 10,000 flyers among the general public.

Meanwhile, in Nigeria, the federal government renewed a three-year drink-driving prevention partnership with Diageo and the United Nations Institute for Training & Research (UNITAR). A UNITAR spokesperson commented that with “the support of Diageo, we have organised four global events and five country events in Africa, Latin America and Asia”.

“We are very proud of this partnership, which aims to improve the capacity of public and civil entities involved in road safety across the world, especially in countries with a high incidence of road accidents and injuries.” Guinness Nigeria also marked 14 years of partnership with the Federal Road Safety Corps by donating new breath-testing kits to aid in the FRSC’s festive enforcement activities.

A-B InBev continued 11 years of road-safety campaigning in China by partnering with the Shanghai Public Security Bureau and the Public Security Bureau of the Tibet Autonomous Region for various National Traffic Safety Day events. A-B InBev’s APAC VP, Frank Wang, said that with “firm support from China’s traffic police, we’ve focused our efforts on the road, vehicles and people to help promote safe travel for years. Either by spreading ‘don’t drink and drive’ awareness to the public or by working with academic organisations to improve road safety, we’re always striving to make our travel safer.” Wang accepted an award in Shanghai for the brewer’s commitment to road safety, and the achievements of a ‘Together for Safer Roads’ pilot project in the city.

DrinkWise Australia launched an innovative new campaign at the start of December, reminding young consumers that foolish behaviour while intoxicated could have wider consequences in the social media age. ‘The Internet Remembers’ is running in Melbourne with augmented reality displays across the city, as well as statues depicting some of the results of binge drinking, such as vomiting and uncontrolled urination. DrinkWise CEO Simon Strahan said: “The fact that young adults see vomiting and making a fool of themselves as a greater risk from excessive drinking than their long-term health means we need to take an innovative approach to our moderation message. We’re very aware of the importance of social media to young adults and the time they spend curating their profiles online, all of which can be destroyed from too many drinks and an embarrassing moment, which once on the internet, will be around long after the hangover is gone.”

In the UK, Pernod’s Absolut vodka brand partnered with Capital FM DJ Roman Kemp and cocktail bar chain Dirty Martini for the second instalment of its ‘Better Journeys Home’ campaign, which offers festive revellers in London, Birmingham or Manchester the chance to win a free taxi ride home. Absolut created a short animated film featuring Kemp and friends swapping anecdotes about late-night transport, to promote #BetterJourneysHome on social media.

And, in London, Diageo started its own creative campaign, staging a takeover of London Bridge station as part of a festive campaign to encourage consumers towards its global responsible-drinking website The activation targeted the 130,000 people that pass through the station daily, as well as launching on social media and digital channels, and will be rolled out internationally in 2019. Diageo corporate relations director Dan Mobley said the push will “educate and entertain through bite-sized content that is designed to grab people’s attention online, on social media and even in busy locations like London Bridge station”.

For further details on The IARD, click here