Reducing the Incidence of Binge Drinking among Young Adults in Australia

Case study

HTDP - Australia

With a mission to create a safer drinking culture in Australia through social media and other educational platforms, DrinkWise Australia, of which  Diageo Australia is a member, created ‘How to Drink Properly’ (HTDP) – an Australian-first social marketing campaign to influence young adults (aged 18-24) to drink responsibly by moderating the intensity and frequency of binge drinking occasions.

According to Australian medical experts, binge drinking is consuming too much alcohol on a single occasion.

The campaign encourages its target audience to drink properly, in order to ‘stay classy’. Recognising that behaviour change takes a long time to influence, and cultural change takes even longer, the campaign works to reframe social perceptions and attitudes towards drinking moderately, in order to see shorter-term attitudinal shifts and longer-term behaviour change.

HTDP was launched in 2014 and involves a creative platform built around a series of animated web films, which introduced a suave and confident figure that bestowed cheeky words of wisdom on potentially ‘amateur’ drinkers. The films are communicated to the target audience via social media platforms, where the use of animation allows the audience to project themselves into each of these scenarios. The campaign even extended to the online dating app, Tinder, allowing users to ‘swipe right’ to see how drinking classy could lead to a second date.

In partnership with Uber, DrinkWise extended HTDP via ‘Ghost with Uber’, helping consumers avoid the pressure to keep drinking when they are ready to call it a night. In the past, many admirable 'ghosting' attempts (sneaking out of a venue unnoticed) were thwarted by a lack of available transport on exit forcing the ‘ghoster’ to return to the bar. ‘Ghost with Uber’ helps solve this problem by allowing a reliable Uber ghost to be ordered, with the Ghost mode allowing the target audience to send a message to friends through the app alerting them of the successful exit and to watch their journey home.

Independent campaign tracking undertaken in 2016 shows that over 9in 10 people who had seen the campaign identify with the messaging. More than 7 out of 10 agreed that the campaign made them think about the benefits of moderation and almost half suggested the campaign was a way of starting a conversation with their friends about drinking.

Most significantly, 40% of participants are now drinking less on a night out as a result of seeing the campaign, up from 21% in 2014.  These impressive results are consistent with 2016 Australian Government statistics which show significant declines in the proportion of young adults aged 18-24 years drinking to excess in all risk categories.

The results indicate that talking to young adults in a meaningful way and at the right time can have significant influence in changing binge culture.

Through HTDP, DrinkWise will continue to use new and innovative methods to communicate with the target audience and achieve cultural change through improved drinking habits.