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Last Updated: Sunday, 13 July, 2003, 23:19 GMT 00:19 UK
Industry urges sensible drinking
Image from Smirnoff ad, courtesy of Diageo GB
The ad will air on television from Mondays
The maker of some of the country's best selling alcoholic beverages is launching a campaign to encourage people to drink sensibly.

The 500,000 "Know when to stop" campaign by Diageo, which produces Guinness and Smirnoff vodka, is a first for the UK.

The company says the move is part of its social responsibility policy, which aims to encourage people to drink alcohol in moderation.

The industry has come under fire in recent years for failing to do enough to tackle high levels of alcohol consumption, particularly binge-drinking.

Health risks

Research shows that people who drink excessively increase their chances of developing a range of diseases, including strokes, cirrhosis of the liver and damage to the brain and nervous system.

The campaign centres around a television ad for Smirnoff which will be aired from Monday.

It is a positive step forward
Alcohol Concern spokesman
The commercial opens with a couple, Hank and Cindy, enjoying a romantic meal at a restaurant.

They are approached by a man who is an old friend of Hank's.

He hears they have just got engaged, congratulates them and then starts reliving the good old days back at college, when Hank was allegedly a bit of a ladies man.

As the conversation progresses, the woman looks more shocked. The ad finishes with the end line: "Knowing when to stop is a good thing".

The ad was aired in the United States last year. Research showed it was popular with viewers.

Tony Mair, Diageo GB corporate affairs director hailed the campaign.

"We believe that the launch of the new Smirnoff responsible drinking campaign marks a major step forward for the industry, and that we have a role to play in educating consumers about how to drink responsibly," he said.

"We feel really positive about the Smirnoff ad launch," he said. "US research shows us that consumers understand the message behind the ad."

The UK charity Alcohol Concern welcomed the campaign.

A spokesman said: "It is a positive step forward."

But he added: "The drinks industry spends somewhere in the region of 200m on advertising each year and we believe that actions speak louder than words.

"We would like to see much more responsibility across the board in terms of discouraging irresponsible drinking."

Jim Minton, from the drinks industry body the Portman Group, said: "Most adults enjoy a drink, and know when to stop responsibly.

"But it is really important the companies who are selling us drinks say this is how you should use the product properly."

Lesley King-Lewis, chief executive of Action on Addiction, said: "It is a step forward in addressing the excessive alcohol consumption that is so prevalent in the UK at the moment.

"We feel it is important to give people more information on sensible drinking."




WATCH AND LISTEN
Jim Minton, Portman Group
"Enjoy a drink but don't go too far"



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