MISSION Agency, Story support their Client Balance in promoting an alcohol-free childhood



MISSION Agency, Story worked with their Client Balance, to launch a campaign that aims to communicate information that will support the need for an Alcohol-Free Childhood to parents. Every child and every family should be supported to be able to make healthy lifestyle choices, free from the health and social harms of alcohol. In addition to this, the new Chief Medical Officer’s guidance makes it clear that an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest and best option, with clear advice that no alcohol before the age of 18 is safest, but ideally nothing before 15.

The main challenge however was the clear information vacuum that presented itself between parents’ views and actual new information available. Most parents predominantly use their personal experience, when deciding on the best approach to addressing alcohol with their children. So the parents age of first alcohol use is a key predictor of when they see it as acceptable for children to drink, rather than objective information.

For parents, health harms are considered to be serious to kids – but that’s when they are allowed to drink “regularly” – which by parents’ own definition, their children don’t.

The term Alcohol-Free Childhood was commonly misunderstood and was viewed as unrealistic in a society where alcohol is everywhere.

Fundamentally, parents want to protect their children, and they believe that when it comes to introducing children to alcohol they know best. But what the vast majority of parents don’t know is that there’s a better approach, informed by medical evidence, that will improve the protection that they’re giving their kids.

This launch phase of the campaign needed to jolt and engage parents into being made aware of this new information. We needed to challenge the norm that just because they experienced alcohol for the first time in a certain way, that does not mean that this is the correct way now.

Our campaign theme engages and challenges these thoughts… Alcohol before 18. What’s the harm?

Strands of the campaign then communicate health harm facts, bust some myths and provide access to a new online portal of factual information and an all-important downloadable parental guide. Photography and creative styling was simple and striking with clear headlines challenging some of the norms.

The campaign was launched on radio, outdoor, online and through PR. Supportive campaign collateral was developed providing stakeholders with literature, campaign messaging toolkits, posters, email templates and hospital screens. The website launched as whatstheharm.co.uk



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