Excessive consumption

Addressing binge drinking - Promoting responsible drinking activities in the nightlife

Promoting responsible drinking activities in the nightlife


Building on the concept of the ‘Know the Signs’ responsible consumption campaign, the “BlèfJezelluf”, (Stay yourself”) initiative in the Netherlands was conducted in the municipality of The Hague. Heineken works together with two NGOs in the fields of health and addiction -GGD Den Haag and Context – to raise awareness and promote responsible consumption. At events and in nightclubs “peer teams” engage young adults in a discussion about their alcohol consumption patterns and the consequences of alcohol abuse. Members of the target group are asked to pick a card from a deck displaying typical characters who have consumed alcohol. They talk about whether or not they recognise themselves or their friends in the character on the card, when they drink too much. When it is clear which character they become after drinking too much, a picture will be taken which fits their character. On the card they can find the link to the website where they can find their photo and information about alcohol and responsible consumption


In 2014, a partnership of Heineken Italia, ALA Milano Onlus (NGO specialised in alcohol/drug related issues) and Comune di Milano (Municipality of Milan), in collaboration with 10 points of consumption (POC) of Milan nightlife areas, implemented a series of initiatives based on two pillars. The aim was to make Milan nightlife people aware of the risks of alcohol misuse and reinforcing key messages from other campaigns (“Sunrise” and “DMDS”). It took place over 4 weekends in July in one of the most populated nightlife areas (Colonne di San Lorenzo), in 5 partner bars and on the street and the main square.

Pillar one involved directly promoting responsible consumption through a set of interventions in which the target group is engaged, creating a dialogue to offer tips about the wrong and the right consumption behaviours, especially regarding drink and drive. ALA Milano Onlus prevention professionals were in charge of distributing special “Free drink cards”, which allowed the pick-up of a bottle of water in the 10 selected POC and gave tips on responsible drinking. People were also invited to perform simple agility exercises while wearing the “alcohol-vista” glasses – which make you see as a drunk sees. Pillar 2 engaged the local system indirectly promoting responsible consumption and reduced the burden on local communities by creating a partnership with local institutions, POC managers and NGOs. In particular a Risk Assessment study of the nightlife district in Milan provided concrete recommendations that were shared with the local institutions to intervene with a more effective governance of nightlife area.

During the campaign, 3276 people were directly engaged, receiving the information leaflet, 2021 disposable breathalysers were distributed, 476 questionnaires were completed and 812 bottles of water were picked up. A press release and media event with a testimonial from Marco Granelli, Councilor for Safety of the Municipality of Milan, led to 25 articles in top media.


The UK’s ‘Best Bar None’ program is a joint venture between the British Institute of Innkeepers and drinks companies including Carlsberg, Heineken and Molson Coors. The program is designed to reduce alcohol-related crime and disorder in bars, pubs and clubs by working in partnership with those outlets.


“SmartConnection” was an activity run by Heineken in 2014 in the Netherlands to make young adults between the ages of 18 and 24 aware about responsible alcohol consumption. The campaign team can be seen in cafés, discos and festivals where youngsters are rewarded if they know how to party without drinking too much. After passing a breathalyser test they receive a gadget. It is carried out in collaboration with TactusVerslavingszorg, an NGO.


Carlsberg runs an annual campaign to promote responsible drinking on the day when the Tuborg Christmas Brew is first released – J Day. Police, parents and authorities had raised concerns about excessive drinking and disorder in the streets in relation to this day. The company provides “J-day” merchandise (hats and flyers) with the message “You are not nice when you are wasted” which are distributed by the Night Owls (an NGO of adult volunteers walking the streets to create a safe atmosphere for young people going out) who are sponsored by Carlsberg Denmark. In partnership with the national railroad service (DSB), free transport is offered (consumers send a text message and receive a ticket on their phone).

DSB also promotes J-day with their own advertising to ensure maximum coverage. In 2013, the active sponsorship of the Night Owls assisted in giving out J-day merchandise (hats and flyers) saying “Scan the QR Code and get 3 free Christmas tracks”. This helped NGOs open up a better dialogue. Additionally, the new moderation line ”Tuborg – Drink with respect”, was implemented on all packaging and point of sale material and integrated into all university activities. It even appears on the bartenders’ clothing for added visibility. Internal guidelines set out how to approach universities and the sales promoters undertake special training, as they are the ones executing the parties together with the universities. In 2014, the campaign continued on the grounds of Copenhagen Business School. The feedback of universities has been positive and the activity achieved high visibility, helping to spread the message further.

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