A Campaign to Discourage Alcohol Consumption

Pernod Ricard USA, a unit of Pernod Ricard SA, the world’s second largest spirits and wine company, today unveiled a distinctive public service campaign that focuses attention on three critical alcohol issues — drunk driving, underage consumption and binge drinking.

The communications program identifies excuses used to justify irresponsible alcohol consumption, and urges individuals to “accept responsibility.” The campaign theme complements the company’s own acceptance of responsibility embodied in its internal code of conduct for employees and standards for its marketing practices.

The integrated campaign kicks off with a full-page advertisement in today’s edition of USA Today and the launch of a complementary Web site: www.AcceptResponsibility.org. Headlined: “Drunk driving doesn’t start with a drink. It starts with an excuse,” the ad features a martini glass illustrated with the text of typical excuses people make when they drive after drinking too much, such as “I’m 220 lbs. — it takes a lot more than three drinks to slow this guy down,” and “I’ve driven home from here so many times I could do it blindfolded.”

Similar creative executions in the initial series expose typical excuses used to justify underage drinking and binge drinking. An animated, on-line version of the binge drinking ad shows shot glasses filling up with typical excuses. The full ad buy will include national newspapers and magazines, as well as Website banners.

“Although the vast majority of adult Americans who drink do so in moderation, and the incidence of underage drinking is declining, we have an obligation to fight against irresponsible consumption,” says Alain Barbet, President and CEO of Pernod Ricard USA. “Our new responsibility campaign focuses on recognizing and overcoming enabling excuses so we can act responsibly.”

The Accept Responsibility Web site dedicated to this campaign features original content on self-deception written by Dr. Alfred R. Mele, author of Self-Deception Unmasked and a professor at Florida State University. Dr. Mele’s material covers the cause of self-deception, its typical effects and how to recognize and overcome self-deception in your life. He also has written a fun, non-scientific quiz to help site visitors start thinking about self-deception in their own lives.

Apart from Dr. Mele’s quiz, the site offers additional interactive features. Friends and family members can send E-card versions of the “Excuses” ads to loved ones who may be engaging in some of the negative behaviors addressed by this campaign and may have used excuses to justify that behavior, along with a customizable message.

The AcceptResponsibility.org site lists numerous links for authoritative information on drunk driving, underage drinking and binge drinking provided by governmental agencies and third-party organizations, including the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information, State University of New York/ Potsdam, Distilled Spirits Industry Council (DISCUS) and Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD).

Other elements of the Accept Responsibility campaign include a media outreach effort with Dr. Mele as the spokesperson, financial contributions by Pernod Ricard USA to a selected group of organizations and initiatives to address alcohol-related issues, and ongoing development of innovative, educational tools to reach parents and their teenagers. “We intend to continue funding efforts to promote responsibility in coming fiscal years,” Barbet said. “All of us — marketers, consumers and parents — must accept responsibility for tackling these issues.”

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