Diageo advertising push to curb UK's binge drinking

LONDON - The alcoholic drinks giant Diageo plans to launch a promotional campaign to attempt to reduce the spiralling problem of binge drinking in the UK.

The company, which is the parent of established brands including Guinness, Smirnoff and Pimm's, has invited its roster agencies J Walter Thompson, Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, Mother and Miles Calcraft Briginshaw Duffy to pitch for the work to promote responsible drinking.

A result is expected to be announced next week. Agencies were asked to present communications solutions, not necessarily above-the-line advertising treatments.

The move comes amid increasing calls for a ban on advertising alcoholic products, in much the same way as tobacco promotion was banned in February this year. Diageo is trying to pre-empt such a move by appearing to market its products responsibly.

The news follows the recommendations made by the alcohol watchdog, The Portman Group, which last December proposed that distillers and brewers should use advertising to encourage consumers not to binge drink.

The call followed on from the government's consultation on a national strategy to reduce post-pub violence and absenteeism in the workplace caused by excessive drinking.

Recent research has shown that the number of female binge drinkers in the UK is rising. The fall in popularity of the drug ecstasy is also thought to have led to increased alcohol consumption among young people.

According to the Portman Group, the recommended daily alcohol intake for women is two to three units and three to four for men.

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