Citation Petticrew M, Fitzgerald N, Durand MA, Knai C, Davoren M & Perry I (2016) Diageo's 'Stop Out of Control Drinking' Campaign in Ireland: An Analysis. PLoS ONE, 11 (9), Art. No.: e0160379. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0160379
It has been argued that the alcohol industry uses corporate social responsibility activities to influence policy and undermine public health, and that every opportunity should be taken to scrutinise such activities. This study analyses a controversial Diageo-funded ‘responsible drinking’ campaign (“Stop out of Control Drinking”, or SOOCD) in Ireland. The study aims to identify how the campaign and its advisory board members frame and define (i) alcohol-related harms, and their causes, and (ii) possible solutions.
Documentary analysis of SOOCD campaign material. This includes newspaper articles (n = 9), media interviews (n = 11), Facebook posts (n = 92), and Tweets (n = 340) produced by the campaign and by board members. All material was coded inductively, and a thematic analysis undertaken, with codes aggregated into sub-themes.
The SOOCD campaign utilises vague or self-defined concepts of ‘out of control’ and ‘moderate’ drinking, tending to present alcohol problems as behavioural rather than health issues. These are also unquantified with respect to actual drinking levels. It emphasises alcohol-related antisocial behaviour among young people, particularly young women. In discussing solutions to alcohol-related problems, it focuses on public opinion rather than on scientific evidence, and on educational approaches and information provision, misrepresenting these as effective. “Moderate drinking” is presented as a behavioural issue (“negative drinking behaviours”), rather than as a health issue.
The ‘Stop Out of Control Drinking’ campaign frames alcohol problems and solutions in ways unfavourable to public health, and closely reflects other Diageo Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity, as well as alcohol and tobacco industry strategies more generally. This framing, and in particular the framing of alcohol harms as a behavioural issue, with the implication that consumption should be guided only by self-defined limits, may not have been recognised by all board members. It suggests a need for awareness-raising efforts among the public, third sector and policymakers about alcohol industry strategies.
Journal PLoS ONE: Volume 11, Issue 9
Petticrew, Mark; Fitzgerald, Niamh; Durand, Mary Alison; Knai, Cecile; Davoren, Martin; Perry, Ivan