Consumers do listen to responsible drinking ads, Diageo

By staff reporter

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Diageo, Responsible drinking, Alcoholic beverage, Alcoholism, Drinking culture

Consumers do heed messages advising them to drink alcohol
responsibly, says a survey by Guinness maker Diageo, as it launches
a series of television adverts in the UK.

More than half the people chosen to watch pilot episodes of Diageo's new adverts said they would reconsider their drinking habits, the drinks giant claimed. Diageo's responsible drinking adverts were launched across the UK this week as pressure mounts on the industry to prove it can tackle the country's binge-drinking problem without legislation. "The adverts will air during prime time programmes ensuring key audiences for the responsible drinking message are reached,"​ Diageo said. They are intended to show how getting drunk leads to less respect and fewer friends. Recent calls from the European Commission that drinks makers must do more tackle excessive drinking has cast the issue into the spotlight and put the industry on its toes. In Britain, almost half of men and more than a third of women aged 16-24 drink more than their daily allowance, increasing their risk of health problems such as cirrhosis later in life, a government report said last autumn. Three quarters of those who watched previews of Diageo's adverts said they came away 'questioning' their drinking level. "The consumer response to the adverts has gone a long way in silencing critics who claim that responsible drinking advertisements do not have any impact on people's attitudes,"​ said Philip Almond, marketing director for Diageo Great Britain. Some officials and campaign groups would like to see cigarette packet-style warning labels on alcoholic drinks, but the industry has mobilised against such a move. Diageo's ads follow the industry-wide launch of the EU Wine Plan in the UK last month, encouraging moderate consumption for a healthy, balanced lifestyle. Still, some campaign groups have sought more stringent controls on alcohol consumption. One group, Alcohol Concern, said parents should be prosecuted for giving alcohol to their children if they are under 15 years old. Others have said the drinking age should be raised from 18 years to 25. Industry associations savaged the proposals, and neither were met with enthusiasm by government ministers. "The proposal flies in the face of evidence and common sense,"​ said Mark Hastings, of the British Beer and Pub Association, commenting on Alcohol Concern's call for parent prosecutions. "It is widely recognised that in countries like France, Spain and Italy - where children learn to drink with their parents over meals - they grow up treating alcohol with respect and have far fewer problems with binge drinking and misuse." ​ He added the plans were unworkable. "Short of putting CCTV in every house in Britain, how would this be enforced?"

Related topics: R&D, Diageo

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