PUBLIC SERVICE ACTIVITIES
BY THE BEVERAGE ALCOHOL INDUSTRY
While precise figures are not available, it appears that on average the beverage alcohol industry spends more than $40 million annually to sponsor valuable and often innovative public service activities to combat alcohol abuse.(1) Some of these programs are sponsored directly by individual alcohol companies; others are sponsored by industry organizations such as the Century Council,(2) the Beer Institute, and the National Beer Wholesalers Association.
The alcohol industry's public service efforts include an array of programs and resources designed to reduce the harm associated with underage and abusive drinking, and to assist enforcement of the legal drinking age and drunk driving laws. Many of these programs are undertaken in partnership with local, state and national community organizations, educational groups, and government agencies. Materials are widely available free of charge, and often in different languages. Examples of initiatives supported by industry organizations as well as individual companies follow.
Programs for alcohol beverage retailers and servers, designed to promote enforcement of laws prohibiting sale to minors and to prevent serving underage and intoxicated persons, including:
Cops in Shops, which places undercover police officers in stores to deter underage purchases. Program signage warns that cops may be posing as store employees, thereby discouraging illegal purchase attempts even when police are not present.
I.D. initiatives such as I.D. Check, We I.D. and Here's Looking at Yours, Kid, to help retailers recognize and accept only valid identification. Prominent point of sale materials for these programs include posters, decals, and buttons.
Training programs such as TIPS (Training for Intervention ProcedureS), to educate servers to recognize and prevent underage and abusive drinking situations. Industry similarly provides support for event planners and party hosts to ensure safe gatherings, such as Good Times: A Guide to Responsible Event Planning.
Programs for parents and other adults, intended to encourage open discussion with children about alcohol issues, including:
Ready or Not: Talking with Kids about Alcohol, a program developed in partnership with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America and designed to facilitate communication with children in the middle school years. In addition to targeted distribution efforts, the Ready or Not videotape is generally available at video stores.
Family Talk about Drinking, a guidebook and videotape program which is also distributed directly to third parties including pediatricians and family practitioners.
Programs for underage persons, intended to educate them about the risks of drinking. Resources are tailored to a specific audience:
High school students.
Programs often involve guest speakers and video presentations showing the dangers of drunk driving, including:
Make The Right Call, which features a former emergency helicopter flight nurse who addresses the consequences of underage drinking and driving.
Brandon Tells His Story, which features a seriously injured survivor of a teen drunk driving accident.
Alcohol 101, an interactive CD-ROM designed for college students and military personnel, and set in a virtual party context to enable participants to experience different outcomes of alternative drinking decisions. The multimedia cybergame is supplemented by teaching materials and facilitator guides for fraternities/sororities and peer educators.
The BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network, a prevention training model for college students, which promotes safe spring break and other alcohol awareness activities.
National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, a large scale campus initiative each fall that serves to launch prevention efforts throughout the year.
Resources to help them develop effective programs to reduce alcohol abuse on college campuses, such as:
Promising Practices: Campus Alcohol Strategies, a compilation of exemplary campus programs that is distributed to every college and university in the country. The programs selected for this sourcebook are chosen by an independent panel of national experts.
Initiatives designed to decrease the incidence of alcohol-related motor vehicle fatalities, such as:
Safe ride home programs including Last Call and Alert Cab, which offer free or reduced fare cab rides home.
Designated driver and designated skipper (safe boating) programs such as Take The Lead - Become a Designated Driver, Key to Life, and Setting Sail: The Safe Course. Designated driver programs are often promoted as part of special holiday awareness campaigns or school initiatives tied to prom and graduation season. Industry has also supported National Drunk and Drugged Driving Awareness Week as well as ADDY (Alcohol, Drunk Driving and You), a program which seeks to reduce teen impaired driving. To encourage the use of designated drivers, industry further sponsors print and billboard messages.
Support for state "zero tolerance" legislation and other traffic safety projects intended to curb drinking and driving and to enforce blood alcohol content (BAC) limits for underage drivers. In connection with its zero tolerance efforts, industry has joined with community organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and has sponsored public awareness campaigns such as U Drink, U Drive, U Walk.
General industry-education activities, including:
Informational displays at trade shows and conventions involving educators, law enforcement, health, and other groups working to combat underage drinking. The alcohol industry also directly distributes various educational publications for wholesaler and retailer use including fact sheets, booklets, and guides.
Media public awareness campaigns, including:
Public service announcements and paid media ads for television, radio, print, and outdoor use, to promote educational programs and prevent underage and excessive drinking. Industry sponsors media campaigns in partnership with other organizations such as the National Commission Against Drunk Driving. Awareness campaigns are often visible during holiday, spring break, and prom seasons. Industry responsibility messages commonly feature sports and entertainment celebrities.
1. This estimate is based on information provided by the trade associations and the companies that filed special reports with the FTC. Not all of the reporting companies, however, provided an estimate of expenditures for public service activities. Moreover, expenditures may vary from year to year.
2. The Century Council is a not-for-profit organization, funded by distilled spirits companies, that is dedicated to reducing drunk driving and underage drinking problems.