The Campaign for Smarter Drinking is backed by more than 45 companies including Molson Coors, Carlsberg UK, Tesco and Diageo and is in partnership with the government and Drinkaware. Other backers include JCDecaux, the Advertising Association and the British Retail Consortium.
The campaign, created by Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, will use outdoor advertising, drink mats in pubs and bars, on-pack and point-of-sale displays in retailers to deliver its message using the strapline ‘Why let good times go bad?'.
It is designed to leverage the direct relationship drinks brands have with consumers. The campaign will aim not to talk down to young adults or tell them what to do, which has been shown not to work.
Instead, it will emphasise the benefits of enjoying drinks responsibly and offer practical tips such as reminders to drink water or soft drinks, eat food and plan to get home safely.
By both asking questions and reminding consumers about the importance of making smart choices, this campaign aims to shift the culture around alcohol by targeting those who drink to excess without punishing the majority of responsible drinkers.
It has taken national press advertising in The Times today to publicise the initiative which will run for five years.
Health Secretary Andy Burnham and Home Secretary Alan Johnson have confirmed they will support the Campaign for Smarter Drinking in its launch year, with further support conditional on the results of an independent audit of the campaign's funding and effectiveness, as well as a review of future funding commitments from the industry for Drinkaware.
Burnham said: ‘While the vast majority of people who drink enjoy alcohol in moderation, we're facing a growing public health problem where people are regularly drinking too much or are dependent on alcohol.
‘Clearly the industry has a responsibility to play their part in tackling this problem and I hope this campaign will make a real difference to people's attitudes to drunkenness and their drinking behaviour,' he said.
Johnson added: ‘Alcohol-related violent crime has fallen by a third since 1997, but no-one is suggesting the job is done and educating people about the dangers of binge drinking is a responsibility not just for the Government, but for us all. That is why I am pleased that the industry is making a commitment to do exactly that.'