At the time of commission, Derbyshire County Council had above average attendances in A&E for people under the age of 18 for alcohol specific conditions. They commissioned Hitch to investigate international and national research, and undertake local research in Derbyshire, in order to create innovative designs to deliver social marketing campaigns that generate behavioural change for improved health outcomes in Derbyshire.
We found that parenting style was a key influence on whether a child would drink responsibly in adolescence, or as an adult, and it was therefore decided that the campaigns should address these factors.
We engaged with a range of parents (of different socio-economic groups, drinking habits and parenting styles) along with a variety of young people of different ages to identify key behaviours and attitudes towards alcohol. A key campaign message was that a cild's brain is still developing up to the age of 21-25 and alcohol can hinder this development. We wanted to get parents to not only rethink their alcohol consumption but also understand the potential harm that alcohol could have on their children, even those close to or 18 years old.
The research helped us refine 'OVAHYPD' and 'Talk Alcohol', a second campaign developed for parents, with messaging and strategy that would ensure we were able influence change in children’s behaviour in relation to alcohol. The campaign was promoted through digital and out of home media, signposting to a supporting website. We also held launch events in youth clubs.
We carried out a pre and post campaign survey and found that:
- The proportion of parents who felt ‘fairly comfortable” discussing the risks of alcohol with their children had increased by 9.6% post campaign.
- The proportion of parents who did not discuss it had fallen by 2%.
- Topics of discussion shifted from parents simply discussing “why adults drink” to discussing the “risks to a child’s health of drinking” showing an increase in awareness of the consequences for children rather than just adults.
- Young people recorded less incidents of noticing their parents drinking by the end of the campaign; 64% compared to 79.8% at the start.
- 55% of young people said they consumed alcohol post campaign compared with 66% before.
- Additionally, we recorded 6,000 website views from parents and 8,200 from young people.
If you would like to find out more about this or any other campaign, please get in touch.