This is the slogan of the latest campaign launched by the Spanish Brewers’ Association (DGCE) to alert young people to the risks of drinking and driving.
In this interview, Javier Olalla, Director of the DGCE, explains the focus of the 2008 edition and highlights the importance of cooperation among companies, civil society organisations and the public sector in this kind of preventative action.
How did the idea for the campaign come about?
The Spanish brewery sector has been committed for some years to the prevention of abusive and inappropriate consumption of beer. As such, it continues to back initiatives in order to prevent adolescents from gaining access to alcohol and to promote the moderate and responsible consumption of beer exclusively among those over the drinking age, in accordance with Mediterranean consumption patterns and in the context of a balanced diet.
As such, the DGCE supports education, prevention and self-control as the most effective means of preventing inappropriate consumption.
For this campaign, we wanted to raise awareness among drivers in general, and young people in particular, about the fact that alcohol consumption is totally incompatible with driving. Although beer has the lowest alcohol content of alcoholic drinks, and it could be considered that perhaps half a pint would not put one over the legal limit, we wanted to be categorical about this: if you’re going to drive, steer clear of alcohol.
Also aware of the fact that positive messages are truly effective, and given the popularity of beer, we wanted to offer our consumers the alternative of non-alcoholic beer, of which we are leading consumers in Europe, and which is totally compatible with safe and responsible driving. The message is clear: if you are going to drive and want to have a beer, ask for non-alcoholic beer because alcohol and driving are incompatible.
Who helped to devise the key messages?These were devised by the beer sector itself with the assistance of the Department of Transport and other institutions that are involved in road safety and have spent years working on this initiative. The main campaign message is: Alcohol and driving are incompatible. If you’re going to drive, drink non-alcoholic beer. Drivers are also reminded about the legal blood alcohol limits for driving and are advised to use public transport if they are planning to drink alcohol.
What is your target public, and why?The campaign targets drivers, in particular young drivers. We are supported by the National Driving Schools Confederation (CNAE), which helps us to disseminate the campaign messages among thousands of driving schools throughout the country. We believe that it is essential that young people learning to drive are fully aware that alcohol is totally incompatible with driving. Education is very important to raise awareness among young people right from the start that they have to be responsible when driving. I would also like to note that the campaign is being launched at the start of the summer, a time of year during which more cars take to the road.
When is this campaign being launched?
It was first launched in 2000, and the 2008 edition was the eighth. Since then, a number of different partners have become involved. In this year’s edition, for example, Stop Accidentes, an association providing assistance and guidance to traffic accident victims, has joined the initiative. Since its creation, this association has also been actively involved in road safety education initiatives.
Other organisations assisting with the campaign are: el Real Automóvil Club de España (RACE), RACC Automóvil Club, la Asociación Española de la Carretera (AEC), Ayuda del Automovilista (ADA), la Fundación Instituto Tecnológico para la Seguridad del Automóvil (FITSA), el Comisariado Europeo del Automóvil (CEA) and Rotary International.
Where is it being implemented?
As well as in driving schools, where the campaign messages are disseminated among young learner drivers, the campaign seeks to reach society as a whole. Thus, the messages are also conveyed at thousands of service stations through a variety of promotional materials, thanks to the assistance of the Asociación Española de Operadores de Petróleo (AOP) [association of Spanish petroleum operators]. A publicity campaign is also being launched in the press, at cinemas (at which a campaign spot is projected) and on billboards throughout the country.
For their part, those organisations participating in the initiative are also disseminating the campaign through their network of offices, websites, magazines and other means of communication.
Have you received any responses or comments?
I think that the best response has been received by all those bodies taking part in the campaign and giving us their support every year, particularly the DGT [Department of Transport] which has been there from the start and, eight years later, continues to illustrate the importance and effectiveness of this kind of initiative. We are also delighted to have received, in 2004, the recognition of the European Commission, which included our campaign in the European Road Safety Charter.
Proof of the effectiveness of this kind of campaign and other official actions and measures are the road accident data provided by the DGT. Since the implementation of the points-based driving licence just over two years ago, the number of accidents has dropped by 9.1%, with 20% fewer fatalities compared to the two previous years.
Also encouraging is the result of research carried out by the Faculty of Psychology of the Universidad Complutense de Madrid which analysed drivers’ drink consumption habits and how they have changed compared to five years ago. According to the research, 84% of these drivers never drink alcohol when planning to drive on long trips, compared to 22% who did so five years ago. 21% of the drivers also stated that they drink more non-alcoholic beer compared to five years ago.
These data therefore confirm that habits are changing and bear witness to the effectiveness of these educational and preventative initiatives. As far as the DGCE is concerned, we are delighted to be able to contribute to this social task.
Do you have more road safety actions planned?
We aim to reinforce our campaign by seeking additional support and increasing the distribution network. After all these years, the campaign is beginning to bear fruit. The slogan is well known and we believe that the initiative, together with other similar initiatives set up by the DGT and other organisations, is helping to raise social awareness. Fortunately, we are seeing a reduction in the number of accidents on Spanish roads, and this is a good illustration of the fact that these educational campaigns are doing their bit.
As part of its commitment to the responsible consumption of beer and alcohol, the DGCE is also developing other educational actions to convey the message that the consumption of alcohol and driving are incompatible, such as the campaign targeting the over-eighteens entitled “Un dedo de espuma, dos dedos de frente” to raise awareness about responsible consumption, and the campaign targeting parents entitled “Los padres tienen la palabra” to help them to teach their children not to consume alcohol and, when they become adults, to do so responsibly. I must emphasise that education is key when it comes to raising public awareness as to the problems linked to the inappropriate consumption of alcohol.