Will placing alcohol units on glassware make people drink less?

In an industry first, Guinness is to display alcohol unit information on 500,000 of its glasses. Marketing asks members of the Marketing Society if such an initiative have a tangible effect on the way that people consume their alcohol?

Maybe

Philip Almond, Marketing director, Diageo GB 

We hope that by placing the alcohol unit indicator on the Guinness 250th anniversary glassware, it will increase people's awareness of units and knowledge of what they are drinking. There are lots of ways that people can find out about units, this is only one. We believe, though, that it will help people in pubs and bars to know instantly how many units are in their pint of Guinness.

Of course, we know that not all alcohol is served in bespoke glasses, as Guinness is. However, if the glasses do prove effective, it would be good to see the practice becoming widespread.

Getting people who misuse alcohol to drink sensibly is a complex issue and one that will not be solved overnight.

It is too simplistic to say that placing unit indicators on glassware will achieve this by itself.

However, we remain committed to giving people all the information about alcohol that we can and this is one innovative way which may help people to drink more conscientiously.

 Maybe

Jane Asscher, Managing partner, 23red

It is a good start by Guinness, and a challenge to the rest of the industry. It will certainly make drinkers take note, but it is only one part of the strategy needed to address binge drinking.

There is widespread consumer confusion over government unit guidelines, and drinks vary in serving size and alcohol by volume. If people do not make the link between binge drinking and liver disease, the initiative fails.

We must also consider the immediate and long-term effects of excessive drinking, and how they can be woven into a wider communication strategy. 

Marketers and alcohol manufacturers should work with the government to raise the awareness of the risks to immediate and long-term health.

We can encourage responsible drinking by delivering innovative interventions, low-alcohol and non-alcoholic options, and by monitoring excessive price promotions. However, these must sit in the wider context of a social marketing campaign.

 Maybe

Jamie Lister, Director, Drink Works

Now that unit measures on glasses have made their debut, the forces of self-regulation are likely to appropriate branded glassware as a new medium. As alcohol awareness increases, I think the question is not 'Will we drink less?', but 'How will we drink fewer units?'

As a nation we like drinking. For most of us, drinking (not the same as drunkenness) is hardwired into our social framework. So it will be easier and more fun to keep our drinking occasions and seek out lower-alcohol drinks. Not distress-purchase compromises, but rewarding brands that happen to have less alcohol.

This puts lager in an awkward position. Only InBev, with Beck's Vier and Stella 4, has started to undo 30 years of 'stronger is better'. Better placed is ale, where premium brands such as Marston's Pedigree provide more taste with fewer units. Then there is Guinness: rewarding, premium and only 2.3 units. The real winner, however, will be spirits - a surprise to everyone at only 1 unit per measure.

 Maybe

James Clifton, Client managing partner, Balloon Dog

Some alcoholic beverages are 'session' drinks and so, sadly, are designed to be consumed in large volumes. These are the staple of a hedonistic night out and I am afraid a unit measure on the glass will have little to no effect. Indeed, it might even become a badge of honour. Ten pints and a curry could become 30 units and a KFC.

However, certain drinks are developed to appeal to more discerning drinkers. Alcohol unit warnings for these may have an impact, because volume is a more conscious decision.

Alcohol units are a measure of how much you have drunk, but people still have no clue as to how to calculate them. It used to be one drink is one pint. Now one drink is one pint, which is 3.4 units; how many units can I have before it is illegal to drive?

So there is a need for awareness and, indeed, a responsibility to put units on glasses, but as to whether it will make people drink less - it depends upon the person and the drink.

 

Discussion

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus
Brand Republic Jobs

subscribe now

Latest

Lynx tells men not to leave love to fate
HBO captures awkwardness of watching sex scenes with parents
Primark to open first US stores with Boston chosen as flagship location
Marketing spend on the up but a reality check is needed before celebrating
Top 10 ads of the week: Jackpotjoy and BT Broadband fend off Kevin Bacon
Lidl beats Tesco to 10m Facebook fans
Center Parcs ad banned for encouraging parents to take kids out of school
Coca-Cola, Cadbury and Amazon named top brands for targeting youth market
Leaked document shows Nokia to be rebranded as Microsoft Mobile
Nike lays-off hardware staff in move that casts doubt on future of FuelBand
Greenpeace says save the bees or humans will die
What brands need to know about changes to VAT and online downloads in 2015
Jimmy Savile victims urged to claim compensation in new ad campaign
UKIP launches biggest  ad campaign and stirs up 'racist' accusations
Apple boss Tim Cook provides voiceover on ad touting firm's renewed green commitments
John Lewis walks consumers through its history to celebrate 150 years of business
Waitrose boosts content strategy with 'Weekend Kitchen with Waitrose' C4 tie-up
Hottest virals: Cute puppies star in Pedigree ad, plus Idris Elba and Fruyo
Amnesty International burns candles to illuminate new hope
Toyota achieves the impossible by calming angry Roman drivers
Tom of Finland's 'homoerotic' drawings made into stamps
YouTube reveals user habits to appeal to 'older' marketers
Ex-M&S marketing chief Steven Sharp consulting at WPP
Wolff Olins reveals new CEO after Apple poaches Karl Heiselman
Glasgow offers £30,000 prize to best digital idea for 2014 Commonwealth Games
Google's revenues surge but shares drop as it grapples with transition to mobile
Facebook beats Twitter to most 'marketing friendly' social media site crown, says DMA
Fableists believe children like Finn should be outdoors enjoying life
Homebase, Baileys and Camelot join the line-up at Media360
MasterCard renews Rugby World Cup sponsorship to push cashless message