WYOMING UNDERAGE DRINKING
UNDERAGE DRINKERS CONSUME NEARLY 10% OF ALL ALCOHOL SOLD IN THE STATE OF WYOMING, WITH TRAGIC REPERCUSSIONS. WE WORKED WITH THE WYOMING DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH TO LAUNCH A STATE-WIDE CAMPAIGN CAPABLE OF MAKING A REAL IMPACT.
Barnhart was appointed to develop, implement and evaluate a statewide Underage Drinking Prevention campaign for the Wyoming Department of Health/Prevention Management Organization. The campaign addresses a major public health issue, since underage drinking is the most prevalent substance abuse among Wyoming youth.
Importantly, there are difficult cultural challenges to surmount. In order to be successful, the campaign must confront and change an environment of tolerance—if not acceptance of—underage drinking in the state.
STRATEGY & APPROACH
The integrated effort was designed to educate parents about the health risks of underage drinking, motivate them to adopt best practices, and change behavior so they become more involved with their kids on the issue. We implemented a phased rollout approach to convey different messages progressively at different times, and developed breakthrough advertising to generate awareness of—and interest in—the issue among parents.
The comprehensive campaign integrated television, online, social media and public relations to engage the audience and stimulate conversation. Additionally we produced a new microsite (TalkEarlyandOften.org) to provide detailed information and resources, and ultimately to motivate behavioral change.
The campaign had immediate impact, as the first television spot was pulled after only six weeks of advertising due to pressure from the liquor lobby in Wyoming. Since the campaign was launched August 2013, indicators are very encouraging on an awareness, attitudinal and behavioral basis. Underage drinking is now a top five health and safety concern for children.
Awareness of the campaign is quite strong at 77%. Moreover, there is increased recognition of the health risks associated with the issue. Nearly all parents believe they can play an active role in ensuring their children do not drink underage. Encouragingly, compared to a year ago, more parents report they are talking to their children more frequently about the topic and are better prepared to discuss the topic.
THE NEW AWARENESS CAMPAIGN HAD IMMEDIATE IMPACT, AS THE FIRST TV SPOT WAS PULLED AFTER ONLY SIX WEEKS OF RUNNING DUE TO PRESSURE FROM THE LIQUOR LOBBY IN WYOMING.
OUR BREAKTHROUGH CAMPAIGN HAS HELPED GENERATE AWARENESS AND MEANINGFUL CONVERSATIONS BETWEEN CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS. UNDERAGE DRINKING IS NOW A TOP FIVE HEALTH CONCERN FOR CHILDREN.
WE CREATED A DETAILED MICROSITE (TALKEARLYANDOFTEN.ORG) THAT SHEDS LIGHT ON THIS EPIDEMIC AND HELPS PARENTS EFFECTIVELY TALK TO THEIR CHILDREN.