New Year's Eve offers opportunity to talk about safe drinking

NEW YORK: With New Year's Eve and New Year's Resolutions within reach, alcohol brands and health experts are taking extra efforts to promote responsible drinking and facts about alcoholism to consumers and the industry.

NEW YORK: With New Year's Eve and New Year's Resolutions within reach, alcohol brands and health experts are taking extra efforts to promote responsible drinking and facts about alcoholism to consumers and the industry. Pernod Ricard USA, which produces Beefeater, Jameson, and Absolut Vodka, is in its third year of its Accept Responsibility campaign and is incorporating more viral and social media elements into the program.

"The communications goals are to effectively communicate with young adults about the dangers associated with underage drinking and drunk driving and binge drinking by highlighting the common excuses that are used to justify each of these irresponsible behaviors," said Jack Shea, VP of corporate communications for Pernod Ricard USA. The campaign is focused around a Web site and video messages, which can be shared with friends and family. Pernod Ricard is also reaching out to the industry and trade media.

"Pernod-Ricard has become a bigger player in the US market over the past decade and we thought it was important, particularly with our trade customers but also with consumers, to demonstrate our commitment to promoting social responsibility," Shea added. The company handled the campaign internally, with help from its media agency Carat.

Other alcohol brands are focusing on providing free rides on New Year's Eve, including Ciroc Vodka, which is offering safe rides in New York and Las Vegas with paid taxi cards and MTA subway cards. Molson Coors is also continuing its MillerCoors Free Rides program in cities such as Denver, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Milwaukee.

The National Institute for Alcohol Recovery (NIFAR) is taking a more serious approach, highlighting facts about alcoholism and alcohol abuse with its new Web site, Stop Drinking 411. The organization also launched the new generation of its Regenerate program, which provides 24/7 support for those who may need it, said Kamran Loghman, executive director of NIFAR.

The campaign launched the week of December 21, prior to New Year's Eve, "because of the resolutions to stop drinking," Loghman said. "Over the next few weeks through January and February, we're going to be focusing on almost every one of the major [social media outlets], from Facebook to MySpace to Twitter to all the rest of them. We're doing a universal, comprehensive, very aggressive approach."

The organization is working with Marketing Works for its social media and Promote Success on PR as it plans a media outreach program, targeting news and lifestyle outlets, and a Web strategy in order to reach people on a global scale.

"We just want to get positive reinforcement out there, get the facts in front of people, and make it easy and simple—a click away on a Web site—so people can start doing what they need to do," Loghman added.





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