Encouraging responsible drinking
It's vital that information provided to consumers about alcohol consumption is accurate and balanced. In Europe, for example, we've implemented comprehensive commitments to the EU Alcohol and Health Forum to provide information to consumers through packaging labels, marketing materials, online tools and mobile apps.
Through our TalkingAlcohol.com website, now available in eight languages, we tailor our messages to local market needs and welcome on average around 20,000 visitors each month. This year in Romania, the website ran a programme to help reduce drunk-driving. Over 10,000 website visitors sent a 'thank you ' card to designated drivers and about 60,000 used the mobile tool to assess the time they need to allow before they have a zero alcohol blood level after drinking. The website won the Gold Trophy for corporate communication at the Romanian Public Relation Awards.
Combating alcohol abuse
We aim to discourage irresponsible drinking through campaigns which encourage responsible behaviour and help to combat abuse.
For example, in Swaziland, to help tackle an increase in the incidence of drunk-driving, particularly on the road between the busy towns of Mbabane and Manzini, Swaziland Beverages Ltd has partnered with Mgewu Investments, a local transport service provider, to provide free shuttle services ferrying consumers home from selected outlets after they have consumed alcoholic beverages.
This year in Czech Republic, Plzensky Prazdroj coordinated a partnership between SANANIM (a local NGO) and Vodafone to improve its Promile INFO service, which allows consumers to check the approximate level of alcohol in their blood by developing a free smart phone application. After entering data such as sex, weight and age, the application allows users to understand the approximate level of alcohol in their blood and how it can change over time. In the first three months from going live, the application was downloaded over 59,000 times.
Contributing to the wider debate
We seek to understand local market issues in order to contribute in a meaningful way to the wider debate on alcohol abuse. In Peru, for example, Backus has been working with the government and other stakeholders to tackle the issue of illicit alcohol which represents up to 30% of the market, posing signifi cant health risks to consumers and reducing government revenue. Backus commissioned research into the causes of alcohol abuse and found it was part of a broad picture of social deprivation. The study also showed how commercially produced products for low-income consumers can present a positive alternative to drinking unsafe, illicit alcohol. In response, Backus worked with medical professionals and policy-makers to run a communications campaign and make recommendations about regulating the trade more effectively. This led to changes in the law making it illegal to produce or sell unlicensed alcohol.
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