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Everybody can enjoy a drink - nobody enjoys a drunk

March 2003, February–March 2005
Target group:
Primary target group
Young adult drinkers aged 18 to 30 years.
Secondary target group
All adults who drink
To raise the profile of binge drinking as a public health issue.


  • To highlight the societal costs attributable to drinking to excess/intoxication.
  • To encourage the view among drinkers that binge drinking is socially unacceptable.
  • To make the target audience think about the amount of alcohol they drink.

Binge drinking is a feature of drinking in the UK and Ireland (and even more so in Northern Europe), with younger drinkers and male drinkers more likely to be binge drinkers than older drinkers and females.

Research ccommissioned by the HPA in 1999 to find out more about the drinking habits of 18-75 year olds in Northern Ireland confirmed this pattern. As part of the survey, current drinkers were asked to complete a drinking diary covering the previous seven days. Men who exceeded 10 units (eg five pints of beer) in any one session were classified as ‘binge’ drinkers. Women who exceeded seven units in any one session (eg three small pub bottles of wine or four alcopops) were classified as having engaged in a binge drinking session.

The research showed that nearly half (48%) of those men who completed the drinking diary had binged in the week prior to the survey and more than a third (35%) of women who had completed the diary had engaged in a binge drinking session.

Analysis by age group shows that binge drinking is most common in younger men and the incidence drops sharply as they get older. More than seven out of ten (72%) 18-29 year old men who completed the diary had engaged in at least one binge session. The pattern for women appears similar to that seen for men, with younger women much more likely to binge than older ones. More than half (57%) of 18-29 year old women who had completed the diary had engaged in at least one binge.

In September 2000 the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety launched a Drugs and Alcohol Strategy for Northern Ireland. Following the publication of this Strategy the Agency was commissioned by the Drugs and Alcohol Strategy Team at the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety (DHSSPS) to develop and implement a campaign to address binge drinking in Northern Ireland.


The campaign:
The campaign advertising was first launched in March 2003 and ran until June 2003, The campaign advertising ran again on television and in cinemas during February and March 2005.

Qualitative research in the form of focus groups was carried out during the development of the campaign to pre-test creative concepts and messages for the advertising. The finished TV/cinema advertisement is 60 seconds in length and shows how a night out, which starts as an enjoyable social occasion, is quickly spoiled by excessive drinking. The advertisement does not have a script but finishes with the following slogan:

everybody can enjoy a drink - nobody enjoys a drunk

This slogan appears as a caption on the end frame of the advertisement.

TV icon Click here to view the television advert

An evaluation of this campaign was conducted in 2003. The key findings were very positive and are listed below:

  • Seven out of ten respondents were aware of the campaign.
  • The respondents perceived the main message of the advertisement to be:
    • Don’t drink too much (31%)
    • Dangers of being out of control when drunk (19%)
    • Be aware of the amount of drink you can handle (14%)
    • Drink to enjoy yourself, not to get drunk (11%)
  • The majority of respondents thought the advertisement very (75%) or somewhat (23%) believable.
  • The majority of respondents thought the advertisement very (56%) or somewhat (32%) thought provoking.
  • More than two thirds (67%) of respondents found the advertisement to be relevant to them.
  • 22% of respondents said the advertisement had made them think about their own drinking.
The campaign was launched at Bar 7, the Odyssey Complex, Belfast, and attracted widespread media coverage. Link to press release on this campaign: 2003, 2005.


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