Government plans shock approach in binge-drinking ads

The Government is considering plans for a hard-hitting campaign aimed at reducing "binge drinking" by young people, modelled on the shock tactics used in its drink-driving ads.

The move follows research by the Home Office which suggests that 18- to 24-year-olds would take notice of "shock" campaigns highlighting the dangers of alcohol abuse. Whitehall officials said there was no immediate plan for a pitch, but confirmed that a campaign was under serious consideration.

The study was based on 16 focus groups with a total of 123 young people by Mori. It concluded: "The impact of drink-driving ads was noted by many of the groups, and the change in British attitudes towards drink driving since the 60s suggests that advertising can indeed be influential in altering behaviour."

However, many of the young people who took part said a "safer drinking" campaign might have only a marginal effect on their behaviour. The report said: "Advertising campaigns were associated in many young people's minds with the 'lectures' they had as teenagers.

"Many young people stressed the importance of making campaigns as hard-hitting and 'gory' as possible, so that they would stick in people's minds."

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