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Award-winning Solo +18 campaign against underage drinking achieves high nationwide awareness

Soccer fans of a certain age will recall fondly the swashbuckling Peruvian national team that competed in the World Cups of 1970, 1978 and 1982, and the exploits of their dynamic midfielder Teófilo Cubillas. He remains a national hero, and recently British newspaper The Guardian included him in a list of the World Cup's top 100 footballers of all time. So it was a considerable coup for our Peruvian business Backus to add his name to the stellar list of ambassadors for its Solo +18 campaign, which aims to discourage alcohol consumption by minors.

Solo +18, which started three years ago, educates Peru’s thousands of small shopkeepers – tenderos – to ask for ID before alcohol can be bought. The programme has also begun to promote healthy lifestyles through sports, spearheaded by the national Solo +18 Tour, a 10-kilometre race being held in nine Peruvian cities.  

Ramón Ferreyros, the successful international rally driver, has completed several of these races, battling against the physical effort required for high-altitude running. He always has his Solo +18 campaign t-shirt on – and a big smile while posing with his many fans after each run.

Other Peruvian sporting, cultural and gastronomic stars lending their weight to the campaign include former top 20 tennis player Jaime Yzaga, the chef and TV personality Sandra Plevisani, and most recently the great Juan Diego Flórez, Peru’s first world-class tenor. Like all parents, these stars want to protect their children and they have committed to the campaign because they understand the importance of promoting responsible drinking.

The ambassadors actively participate in Solo +18 events and make unannounced visits to retail outlets. These visits are part of the campaign’s ‘mystery shopper’ programme, which has expanded over the last two years to include five districts around the capital city, Lima. The campaign has also attracted the support of key opinion leaders such as the First Lady and the Mayor of Lima, along with 65 local and regional government bodies.

The campaign has achieved high national impact, with more than 1,000 reports in Peru’s media, which has also offered free campaign publicity amounting to more than US$500,000. The campaign’s 360° activation includes not only TV and radio airtime, but also an extensive online online presence, including its own Facebook page and dedicated Twitter campaign. The campaign’s supporting celebrities star in dedicated TV adverts.

The campaign enjoys 70% nationwide awareness, with 64% of respondents associating Backus/SABMiller with ‘promoting responsible consumption’. Furthermore, the campaign’s impact earned it a gold award in the ‘Best Non-Commercial Campaign’ category at the Effie Awards in 2012.