Dry January and Dryathlon prepare for 2016 kick-off

The two campaigns that challenge social drinkers to take a month-long break from alcohol are about to kick off, with PR playing a key part in their activation.

Dryathlon: Challenging people to stop drinking alcohol in January
Dryathlon: Challenging people to stop drinking alcohol in January

Dryathlon, which is a campaign by Cancer Research UK, has been running since 2013. Participants, known as 'Dryathletes', take on the dry challenge for 31 days while raising money to beat cancer.

This year advertising agency Karmarama has created a new campaign that will appear across TV, radio, digital and social media, encouraging Dryathletes to still have a good time in January. A specially written song alongside animation will be used across the channels. 

This year Cancer Research is not working with a corporate partner on the campaign, but in the past Tetley Tea has been involved.

Anthony Newman, director of brand, marketing and comms at Cancer Research UK, said: "Dryathlon is a fun and light-hearted fundraising campaign, not health-focused, and our refreshed new creative for 2016 highlights the essential message of Dryathlon; it’s not about staying in but getting out and enjoying life while raising money. For the first time we’ve used animation alongside a catchy song that combined creates a campaign that is fun and engaging, and will ensure Dryathlon stands out."

The second campaign – Dry January – is run by the charity Alcohol Concern. Now in its fourth year, this is the first time the campaign has official food and drink partners, including restaurant chain Strada, which has added a range of alcohol-free beers and wines to its menus.

Other partners include soft drink brand Britvic, fitness technology company Jawbone, Public Health England and The Telegraph newspaper.

PR for Dry January is being managed in-house by Cara Barrett. Barrett explained that unlike Dryathlon, Dry January is a behaviour change campaign, where fundraising is welcomed but not compulsory. 

Research from last year's campaign showed that showed six months after completing Dry January, 67 per cent of people were drinking less, or cutting alcohol out completely.

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