Department of Premier and Cabinet - Anti-Alcohol Fuelled Violence
Stop Before It Gets Ugly / J. Walter Thompson Sydney
Alcohol related violence has long been an issue for society, but after a series of high profile 'coward punch' attacks, the NSW Government introduced a raft of measures to address it. This included communications designed to help change attitudes and behaviour amongst young men.
The trouble is, that young males don't see themselves as a potential aggressor or victim, so would self exempt from violence focused messaging. Our strategy therefore was to address the behaviour they admit (heavy drinking) - not the behaviour they dont expect or intend (violence effect). And to tap into a truth about drinking that young people freely admit: there is a point in drinking beyond which you lose control and move from 'happy drunk' to 'bad decision' drunk. This is an unpredictabe state in which drinkers acknowledge 'anything could happen'. Our creative solution was a campaign that (instead of telling them not to fight, or to stop drinking), prompts young men to be aware of their tipping point when drinking and to stop drinking before the consequences could turn bad. This is encapsulated in the campaign line: 'Stop before it gets ugly'.
The campaign was executed in two complementary streams. The first designed to drive awareness & attitude change towards drinking to excess. The second a series of contextual behaviour change prompts along the path of the night out. The awareness and attitude change executions were led by two 30" TVC's: one aimed at the individual, the second asking friends to look out for their mates who might be near their tipping point. These present a confronting picture of the devastating social, physical and emotional consequences that drinking past your tipping point can lead to when it sparks alcohol fuelled violence. The behaviour change stream consists of high visibility prompts for moderation through OOH activity in and around drinking venues (including special build mirrored panels that allowed the public to 'see themselves' in a gaol cell), plus in-venue activity including ATMs in pubs/clubs/bars, posters and coasters and paid advertising in social media.
The package of measures, including this campaign are beginning to take effect on the issue, with a parliamentary enquiry hearing in Septemberfrom the NSW Police that there had been a significant drop in assault causing grievous bodilly harm from 22 to 2 vs the same period last year. Suggesting that it is indeed possible to get young men to stop drinking before it gets ugly.