The problem of binge drinking is an old and persistent one. Then why do we have to keep thinking up new ways of warning people about its dangers?
One reason is, we haven’t reached everyone yet, judging by the number of alcohol-related problems in society. Young people are particularly hard to reach. To catch the attention of 18-24 year olds, the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission in Canada has developed a clever new campaign designed to educate people about the bad situations that binge drinking can land you in.
The campaign, called “Thanks, Alcohol,” uses comic-style artwork and a slightly snarky tone, rather than a stern tone and an appeal to fear. The campaign’s message is expressly for the 18-24 age group.
Posters show awkward situations, such as a man who has gotten into a fistfight over nothing, the woman who is overwrought and weeping, and the strangers who wake up next to each other. The message: “Take control of your night. Have a few less.”
Rather than warn against the problems of overdrinking, the campaign singles out types – the fighter, the blackout drunk, the overspender – and challenges you not to behave like one of those predictable binge drinkers. For people at an age when they are trying above all to assert their individualism, it might be an excellent approach.
The campaign’s website, short and to the point, adds some hints on how to keep drinking under control:
- Eat – an empty stomach exaggerates alcohol’s effects
- Slow down – it’s not a race to see who can drink the fastests
- Take a set amount of cash – that helps keep spending and drinking under control
- Find good friends who’ll look out for you – the best way to have a good time.
People of different ages respond to different messages. In Alberta the message they’ve developed is: take control of your drinking and you won’t end up like these losers. It’s a fresh way to look at the problem, and it might be a successful one as well. Given the importance of the issue, we applaud the AGLC for their innovative spirit.
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