Province launches racy ads to curb student binge drinking

‘Thanks Alcohol’ campaign highlights poor decisions that can lead to binge drinking

This image from the province's new ad campaign is called 'The Party Puker.'

This image from the province’s new ad campaign is called ‘The Party Puker.’ (Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission)

The Alberta government has launched an edgy new campaign it hopes will encourage young people to think twice about binge drinking.

It likely comes as no surprise that some university students have difficulty knowing where to draw the line when it comes to a night out.

“I think it’s a really big problem, because there’s not enough information about it and it’s still considered the cool thing to do,” third-year student Kathleen Degeer said Friday.

Ted Hansen

Third-year student Ted Hansen, dressed up for Halloween, says many students don’t know the meaning of moderation. (CBC)


“Kids don’t quite know moderation, so they end up overdoing it and could find themselves in a dangerous situation,” said third-year student Ted Hansen.

To help, the Alberta Liquor and Gaming Commission has invested $200,000 into its “Thanks Alcohol” campaign, which aims to encourage students to think about the choices they make when drinking.

“Thanks Alcohol” was designed to pick up where more earnest campaigns, such as those produced by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), leave off, making the message more relatible for students.

“It’s edgy and it’s fun,” said Bill Robinson, the CEO of the ALGC. “What we really wanted to do was get a really serious message across, but we wanted to catch the attention of that age group between 18 and 24 years of age.”

Bill Robinson

Bill Robinson, CEO of the Alberta Gaming and Liquor Commission, at Friday’s launch of the new ‘Thanks Alcohol’ ad campaign. (CBC)

To do that, the ads draw attention to some of most common drunk personality types — such as the “Party Puker,” the “Frequent Fighter” and “The Waterworks.”

Visitors to the campaign website can take a quiz to find out what kind of drinking personality they have.

“We hope you’ll see yourself in that and maybe you won’t find yourself in that [role] again and you’ll change some of your attitudes towards drinking” said Robinson.

“If you haven’t, it’s a good wake-up call for people to see the types of things that can happen if you over-consume.”

And some students say the different take on a familiar message may make all the difference.

“I think a lot of students are sarcastic and they are able to relate to it better,” said Hanna Wicks.

“And it’s also a way of taking the onus off of alcohol and saying ‘Hey, I made that decision to drink, I made that decision to keep drinking. I can’t just blame it on the alcohol –  I did this myself.’”

The $400,000 ad campaign will run for two weeks on the radio and online. Ads will also be posted in bars around the province.


Disclaimer:  The views and opinions in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of Edmonton and Area Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder Network.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.