Diageo targets parents to tackle underage drinking

A new ‘influencer-led’ campaign on the dangers of underage drinking is being targeted at parents who buy alcohol for their children.

Although the UK is making progress in reducing levels of underage drinking, with policies such as Challenge 25 helping deter young people from purchasing alcohol themselves, 71% of young people between the ages of 11-15 have said that parents and carers are their main source of alcohol.

Furthermore, a study by Community Alcohol Partnerships into parental attitudes towards alcohol supply has shown that, contrary to official guidance, 53% of parents have allowed, or would allow, their children to have an alcoholic drink.

Responding to CAP’s latest findings around this parental supply, Diageo, maker of top alcohol brands Gordon’s, Guinness and Johnnie Walker, has launched a GB-wide digital activation helping to remind parents and carers that an alcohol-free childhood is the safest option for their children.

Over a six-week period, the campaign will see four popular family influencers use social content, co-created with Diageo, to help spark a conversation about trends in underage drinking. The campaign will not promote any alcoholic beverages.

The four online celebrities involved in the initiative are ‘Dadlife’ author and father of four, Simon Hooper (@father_of_daughters); The Only Way is Essex star and foster carer for over 250 children Debbie Bright (@xdebbietowiex); fitness instructor Javeno Mclean (@jhealthjaveno); and LGBTQ+ parenting bloggers Jamie and Tom (@daddyanddad).

Aiming to reach parents and carers where they are, the content is being shared on Facebook and Instagram to these influencers’ combined 1.2 million Instagram followers. The campaign will also direct parents, carers and guardians to DRINKiQ, Diageo’s dedicated responsible drinking website that provides information and a range of advice and resources to encourage moderation.

Director of Community Alcohol Partnerships, Kate Winstanley, said: “I’m delighted to see Diageo continue their work in tackling underage drinking, too few parents understand that Government advice is that children should have a mainly alcohol-free childhood. We welcome this innovative campaign and hope that it encourages parents and carers to think about the dangers of underage drinking.”

Managing Director Diageo Great Britain, Nuno Teles, said: “As a father of four myself, I have often reflected on the importance of a happy and healthy childhood and what that looks like for my family.

“We hope this campaign helps outline the risks of alcohol consumption amongst young people, providing parents across the country with an engaging source of advice and information around how they can best support their children.”

Influencer Ms Bright added: “We all want to keep our children safe and healthy but it’s definitely easy to underestimate the impact our behaviour can have on our kids. As a parent and foster carer to more than 200 children, this campaign really resonated with me, so I was more than happy to get involved and help share this important message about the risks of underage drinking to parents and carers across the UK.”

Promoting moderation and addressing the harmful use of alcohol is a core pillar of Diageo’s 10-year ESG action plan ‘Society 2030: Spirit of Progress’, which includes a target to educate 10 million young people, parents and teachers on the dangers of underage drinking.

As part of this work, Diageo’s long-standing theatre education programme SMASHED has so far reached over half a million students in the UK. In September, in line with similar campaigns activated around the world, Diageo also delivered a responsible drinking campaign to coincide with university students starting the new academic year, which ran on digital outdoor sites across campuses in Scotland, England, and Wales.