The Drink Free Days campaign was launched in September 2018 and targeted midlife men and women (aged 40-64), drinking routinely in the home and over the low risk drinking guidelines.
The overall aim of this two-year campaign was to start to promote and normalise the idea of drink free days and alcohol moderation generally. The 2019 campaign used the concept and tagline ‘No Alcoholidays’ to offer people alternative activities to drinking as well as a light-hearted and positive tone to the message.
Pre-post campaign survey
Using a representative online panel YouGov undertook a pre-campaign survey August / early September 2019 (n=4,531) and a post-campaign survey in November 2019 (n=4,534), including midlife men and women (aged 40-64) in England and Scotland. South West England had been chosen as a control area. This is consistent with the 2018 campaign evaluation.
Key findings: 2019
Campaign recall: The campaign achieved good levels of recall with 33% of men and 22% of women remembering campaign materials when shown. The radio ads were more strongly recalled than social media.
Female campaign perceptions: Female drinkers continue to feel more positive about the campaign than male drinkers, however there was a lower level of interest when comparing to 2018 potentially due to the lack of messaging on breast cancer within the radio ads (which resonated well last year).
Male campaign perceptions: Consistent with 2018, around a quarter of men report being interested in the ads and found the messaging relevant. Health messages related to jogging, blood pressure and weight resonated well, particularly among heavier drinkers.
Campaign influence: There continues to be good evidence that people who had seen the campaign were influenced to consider their drinking and take more drink-free days, although these levels are lower than in 2018. The overall decline was driven by male drinkers, particularly in England who were less likely to feel ‘Drink Free Days’ were relevant to them when compared to 2018.
Compared to 2018, significantly more female drinkers in Scotland report being influenced to take more drink free days (42% in 2018, vs 56% in 2019)
Awareness of health harms
Overall there has been little increases in awareness of health harms, with the exception of more female drinkers in England aware of the links between breast cancer and significantly more heavier male drinkers in Scotland aware of the links between high blood pressure and alcohol
Impact on attitudes and behaviours
8 in 10 people continued to agree that drink free days ‘are a good way of cutting down and cutting back can improve your health’. There were no significant changes in drinking attitudes or behaviours pre to post-campaign.