Case Study: Alcohol Concern

The charity's Dry January campaign has experienced a surge in support

Dry January: big increase in support
Dry January: big increase in support

Organisation: Alcohol Concern
Campaign: Dry January
Agency: Public Zone

Alcohol Concern launched its Dry January campaign in 2013, when 4,350 people pledged to stay off booze for the month.

This year, the number of people taking part has shot up to 15,852. Emily Robinson, the charity's director of campaigns and deputy chief executive, says this is because of increasing awareness of the campaign and the health problems associated with drinking. "People just love talking about booze," she says.

Robinson says the idea for the campaign grew from her own experience of abstaining from alcohol during January as a good way to start the new year. The charity saw the potential of taking something that people were already doing and turning it into a mass opportunity to raise awareness about excessive drinking.

The campaign was conceived to raise awareness of, and to bring new supporters to, the charity. Fundraising is an optional part of the campaign, and in 2013 about 10 per cent of participants raised £45,000.

Robinson says more people have taken up challenge events for the charity since last year's campaign. This year, with nearly four times as many participants, she expects about 10 per cent of them to raise money through sponsorship and donations.

Alcohol Concern spent £25,000 on the website and branding. It has had no marketing budget for the campaign, relying on word of mouth, social media and media coverage to promote it.

In its first year, the campaign had 1,278 Facebook likes and 1,001 Twitter followers. It received 705 items of media coverage. But this year its Facebook page has more than 24,000 likes and Twitter followers now total 3,317.

Alcohol Concern has had to go head to head with Cancer Research UK's Dryathlon campaign, which also challenges people to go booze-free for January and last year made £4m.

"Our campaign is first and foremost about getting over a message about drinking behaviour" says Robinson. "If others are adding to that, it is helpful."

EXPERT VIEW: Rachel Beer, Development director, Burnett Works

Rachel BeerThis makes good use of social media channels, with engaging content and activity that is effective at driving traffic and participation. But the micro-site isn't pulling the campaign together very compellingly. The messaging and tone of voice work well and there is useful content. But it's easy to miss because the visual branding and site design lets it all down. Attending to this and working on the fundraising proposition would help the campaign pack more of a punch and increase income.

Expert rating
Creativity: 2.5
Delivery: 2.5
Total: 5 out of 10

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