Diageo launches influencer-led campaign to support parents to tackle underage drinking

Diageo launches influencer-led campaign to support parents to tackle underage drinking

7 Mar 2023

We have launched a new influencer-led campaign on the dangers of underage drinking, following research commissioned by Community Alcohol Partnerships (CAP). Although the UK is making progress in reducing levels of underage drinking[1], with policies such as Challenge 25 helping deter young people from purchasing alcohol[2], 71% of young people between the ages of 11-15 have said that parents and carers are their main source of alcohol.[3] Furthermore, a study by CAP into parental attitudes towards alcohol supply has shown that, contrary to official guidance, 53% of parents have allowed, or would allow, their children to have an alcoholic drink.[4]

Responding to CAP’s latest findings around parental supply, Diageo has launched a GB-wide digital activation helping to remind parents and carers that an alcohol-free childhood is the safest option for their children. Over a six-week period, the campaign will see four popular family influencers use reliable and informative social content, co-created with Diageo, to help spark a conversation about trends in underage drinking. The campaign will not promote any alcoholic beverages.

The four influencers involved in the initiative are: ‘Dadlife’ author and father of four Simon Hooper (@father_of_daughters), The Only Way is Essex star and foster carer for over 250 children Debbie Bright (@xdebbietowiex), fitness instructor Javeno Mclean (@jhealthjaveno) and LGBTQ+ parenting bloggers Jamie and Tom (@daddyanddad). The influencers have been carefully selected because of their ability to reach and engage the key target audience, with compelling content that communicates a powerful underage drinking message. The influencers represent a wide variety of ages, backgrounds and family experiences, ensuring the campaign message resonates with a broad audience. They have also been chosen because of their personal insights into family life and managing the challenges of guiding and supporting young people in their life choices.

Aiming to reach parents and carers where they are, the content is being shared on Facebook and Instagram to the influencers’ combined 1.2 million Instagram followers. The campaign will also direct parents, carers and guardians to DRINKiQ, Diageo’s dedicated responsible drinking website that provides information and a range of advice and resources to encourage moderation.  

Kate Winstanley, Director of Community Alcohol Partnerships, said: “I’m delighted to see Diageo continue their work in tackling underage drinking, too few parents understand that Government advice is that children should have a mainly alcohol-free childhood. We welcome this innovative campaign and hope that it encourages parents and carers to think about the dangers of underage drinking.”

Nuno Teles, Managing Director Diageo Great Britain, said: “As a father of four myself, I have often reflected on the importance of a happy and healthy childhood and what that looks like for my family. The decline in underage drinking in the UK is encouraging, and it is great to see initiatives like the Challenge 25 policy help drive this change. We hope this campaign helps outline the risks of alcohol consumption amongst young people, providing parents across the country with an engaging source of advice and information around how they can best support their children.”

Debbie Bright, Influencer, said: “We all want to keep our children safe and healthy but it’s definitely easy to underestimate the impact our behaviour can have on our kids. As a parent and foster carer to more than 200 children, this campaign really resonated with me, so I was more than happy to get involved and help share this important message about the risks of underage drinking to parents and carers across the UK.” 

Promoting moderation and addressing the harmful use of alcohol is a core pillar of Diageo’s 10-year ESG action plan, Society 2030: Spirit of Progress, which includes a target to educate 10 million young people, parents and teachers on the dangers of underage drinking.  

As part of this work, Diageo’s long-standing theatre education programme SMASHED has so far reached over half a million students in the UK and is delivered in every continent. In September, in line with similar campaigns activated around the world, Diageo also delivered a responsible drinking campaign to coincide with university students starting the new academic year, which ran on digital outdoor sites across campuses in England, Scotland and Wales.

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[1] NHS Digital (2021), Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England, “In 2021, 40% (confidence interval 37-44%) of pupils said they had ever had an alcoholic drink, compared to 44% in 2018 (confidence interval 41%-46%).”

[2] NHS Digital (2018), Health Survey for England 2017 Children’s health, “The proportion of children aged 8 to 15 reporting ever having had a proper alcoholic drink – a whole drink, not just a sip - fell from 45% in 2003 to 14% in 2017”

[3] Challenge 25 is a retailing strategy that encourages anyone who is over 18 but looks under 25 to carry acceptable ID if they wish to buy alcohol. Association of Convenience Stores (2021) ACS Launches Expanded Challenge25 Campaign to Support Colleagues in Local Shops Awareness of Challenge25 among the general public is strong, with 7 in 10 consumers currently aware of what the Challenge25 policy is for (Yonder consumer polling, adults aged 18-34, November 2021)” 

[4] NHS Digital (2022), Smoking, Drinking and Drug Use among Young People in England,Of pupils who obtained alcohol in the last four weeks, they were most likely to have been given it by parents (75%)”

[5] Community Alcohol Partnerships (2022), An alcohol-free childhood: Action to ensure parents keep their children free from alcohol harm. “Around half of parents (53%) have allowed or would allow their children to have an alcoholic drink before they are 18 (contrary to advice that no alcohol is safe)” – CAP commissioned a national survey of parents of children aged 11-17, which was undertaken by Ipsos in 2021.