Thursday, 19 November 2009

Alcohol Awareness Campaign

Aah another brief. Yipee! After looking through all the briefs I have chosen the alcohol awareness brief. Probably the one people expected me to choose, possibly more difficult than I originally thought but definately the one that most relates to my work and essay and what i'm thinking about for my personal project. None of the others appealed to me at all so it was quite an easy decision, and felt like I've done a lot of experimentation on the silence brief so its time to do something completely different and hopefully work to my strengths.

Instead of filling by sketchbook with other people's work, I'm putting all my initial research on here. So here goes...

You would't start a night like this, so why end it like this?
I actually think this is quite a good campaign. It highlights the stupidity and disgusting things people do when they're drunk, instead of just being shocking, it's kind of grose and cringe worthy. What I like about this ad is that it doesn't tell you not to drink, or go out, it just says you don't need to act like a tosser when you do. Through sober eyes drunk behaviour is usually ridiculous so it's a nice way to think about what you do to yourself rather than focusing on trouble causing and anti-social behaviour.

The link above to an anti binge drinking viral I found on YouTube where the models on a catwalk start to behave like drunk people. Again for the same reasons as 'You wouldn't start a night like this..' I think this advert openly highlights the way people behave when they get drunk. The models look perfect, all dressed up and ready to go out - but when the girl pulls her skirt up and wees on the stage, then throws up its such a stark contrast. When you're drunk you might find it funny but in the day light it really isn't. I think this is quite an effective message - younger people who are trying to look older, dress up, they would do a much better job if they behaved dignified.

''One of our zillions upon gazillions of Facebook buddies snapped a picture of himself beside this ad for After Too Many, that anti-irresponsible-drinking campaign by Grey, SF. Who'd have guessed it would make such a positive impact on (completely inebriated) college students?

The text reads, "My BEER told me to PUKE on my girlfriend." Monsieur Le Smirk at right seems close to doing just that. Yeah, it's all fun and games until it actually happens, right?''

This is the comment that I found on a website next to this pic. Its an American campaign for anti-drinking that has turned up on college students facebook page. I can't find another copy of the ad anywhere else. Rather ironic I think, and it highlights perfectly just how difficult it is to change people's attitude towards drinking behaviour. This advert isn't being taken seriously by the people who it is aimed at - how is it going to make any sort of impact on society.

This poster is subtle and nicely art directed, much more sophisticated than many of the others. It's probably one of my favourite that I've found, but i'm still not sure if it would make an impact on binge drinking. Somehow, this seems funny like the reaction it would actually provoke is to make you laugh with your friends about all the times you 'had your beer goggles on'.

This campaign by Saatchi and Saatchi above (about drink driving) is also nicely done. I still don't know though ... I just think that it's not strong enough to really drive home any message, never mind change behaviour. Those who do drink drive are a minority who obvious lack an ability to weigh up consequence in the first place. I might be cynical, but I don't think this would make them think.

Of everything I've found, I actually think that this is one of the cleverest posters and the most likely to have an impact on children drinking. The problem is it is cool to drink - when your young its cool because your parents do it, because your friends do it and most of all because it's illegal. It's also cool to end up in A&E, to make a fool of yourself or do something stupid. Everyone talks about it the next day, maybe for years if you get really really drunk. So saying that you might end up in A&E is not really a deterant if anything for a lot of people, its the goal.

The rabbit poster plays with quite a young visual style that is usually on 'joke' posters with clever quips about alcohol, drinking and sex that a lot of young people see as 'cool'. Changing the joke around to make drinking a negative action is clever. It doesn't sound like it's coming from an adult, or the government, it doesn't sound like a patronising message telling you what to do - it sounds like it's coming from 'society', a cooler, older person who you look up to and want to be like.

I don't like this at all, it's just got no substance, the general message is weak - if it's aimed at young people then the visual style is way of the mark, if it's aimed at older people then it's missing the boat conceptually. Bad bad all round.

The image here is quite striking, maybe it would have had an impact when it was first released. It probably will haunt some teens - but they don't like to be preached to, they don't think something like this will ever happen to them, and if it did they would have a story to tell. I think the shock campaign is wearing thin now, we have seen it all before, and because of the internet, I would bet that there is very little that would shock today's youth generation.

Again- I just don't think spending the night in A&E is a very good deterant for young people. Mostly, they think it's funny and cool.

This is a very serious problem, especially for women, getting into illegal taxi's. Most people don't think it will ever happen to them, they think they'll be safe. This poster just lacks a bit of shock or consequence - it doesn't really say anything.

The Know your Limits campaign below was actually done by the agency LIDA that I did my work experience at over summer. It has definitely had a lot of coverage, I think it's one of the most recognised of recent times. I think that this campaign was more about raising awareness to people about the healthy levels of alcohol we should be drinking - which it does quite well. Unfortunately, the government is obviously targeting the completely wrong age group and social group here - people who drink a bit more than the healthy levels say after work, socially and at home to relax without really realising the risks are not the same people who binge drink and throw up/end up arrested/in A&E of a friday night. Although this is a worth while campaign and probably has been effective in raising awareness, it's not targeting the right problems to have any sort of lasting effect on the binge drinking culture in Britain.

After analysing all these campaigns it's clear to me that there really aren't many that are done well enough to make an impact. Maybe they're made by people who have forgotten what it's like to be young and why you drink. Maybe they're targeting the wrong people. I honestly don't think that advertising alone is the answer to binge drinking. It's a lifestyle that will not be easily shifted by a poster. Just like smoking, people know the dangers, kids know they might end up in hospital or making a fool of themselves, they do it anyway because it is an accepted way to have fun. They learn from their parents which is a big problem, but also from their friends and society around them. Not being allowed to drink makes it even more exciting, and telling them not to do it will make them want to do it even more. To make any impact on alcohol abuse the whole attitude of society needs to change and this needs to be through education from the beginning, talking about it more and making it less 'naughty'. I reckon most of these anti - binge drinking campaigns fuel drinking because it becomes even more rebellious, even cooler. Campaigns should be about drinking sensibly, having fun without drinking, seeing drinking as something that can be done but safely and in moderation, Not screaming shock, patronising and negative messages at us that we will just switch off too. Humans have always drunk and got drunk and they will continue to, but what's changed is the levels and behaviour that is now acceptable. This is what I think needs to be addressed.

Easier said than done I fear!

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