StateWays Nov/Dec 2015

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 21 of 51

StateWays ■ ■ November/December 2015 22 When North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory appointed Jim Gardner to serve as Chairman of the North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) Commission in 2013, he also gave Gardner a primary charge: combat underage drinking. The state currently spends $1.3 billion annually on incidents related to underage drinking. In addition to putting an enormous cost burden on North Carolina, underge drinking is also responsible for the loss of two lives per week across the state. But what can be done to stop it? Under Gardner's direction, the ABC Commission cre- ated the Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking and con- ducted a large-scale qualitative and quantitative research study across the state. The research produced some star- tling statistics: the average age children begin drinking is 13.9 years old. Adults and children were surveyed, and children viewed underage drinking as being a much more serious problem than the adults did. Addi- tionally, the research indi- cated that children were looking to their parents to provide them with information and guid- ance about alcohol, and that parents felt unequipped to handle those conversations. "The study showed that this was a very big problem, and that it starts even earlier with children than anyone really anticipated," Gardner says. After reaching out to 17 other states for advice, Gard- ner commissioned a robust campaign designed to give parents the tools they need to talk with their children about drinking. The "Talk it Out" initia- tive is described by Gardner as a "get in your face" program that drives parents to the website through vari- ous channels, including television and radio ads, billboards and social media. The website contains extensive re- sources for parents, including facts and fi gures about underage drinking, tips on how to talk to children about drinking and information on how to seek additional help. The approach used in the campaign was direct and powerful. The website video, which debuted in the winter of 2014, featured four families discussing how un- derage drinking has affected their lives. In one segment, a mother describes how her 18-year-old son was involved in a car accident after drinking while intoxicated. He was in a coma for fi ve months and suffered irreparable brain damage. Another parent discusses how her daughter was killed in an accident after attending a party where the hosts served alcohol to underage children. The fi rst round of ads portrayed a mother pinning her corsage on her daughter's dress, but the daughter was lying in a coffi n. The second ad showed a father routinely prepar- ing mashed bananas for a child, but the child was actually a young adult. Prior to their release, the ads were vetted by families that have been impacted by the consequences of un- derage drinking. The consensus was that the raw honesty depicted in the videos was an effective way of getting the message across. "Prevention is a life-or-death matter," Gardner says. "We needed to make sure people paid attention." The ABC Commission spent $2.5 million during the fi rst year of the Talk it Out campaign. After the fi rst wave of advertising concluded, another research study was con- ducted in order to gauge the campaign's effectiveness. Re- sults showed that children who viewed the ads retained more information than adults did. This signaled a big problem to Gardner, as parents were the primary target of the campaign. In summer of 2015, the second wave of the campaign launched with a refi ned focus on the role of parental WINNER CONTROL STATE BEST PRACTICES AWARDS BEST RESPONSIBLE CONSUMPTION PROGRAM (TIE) NORTH CAROLINA TALKS IT OUT By Melissa Niksic

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Stateways - StateWays Nov/Dec 2015