I've been kinda sorta following the government's response to Steve Fielding's campaign against binge drinking. As usual it seems that the media is presenting it as no booze vs the status quo. The government's first response is to consider banning certain drinks and raising prices. Yeah great, let's legislate our way out of a cultural problem. It's worked so many times before. I especially like the concept of banning the drinks that young people drink (pre-mixes and so on) - because after all, before Breezers teenagers never drank...
All political and media nonsense aside, I really do think we need to take a long hard look at our drinking culture. I was listening to Hack on Triple J and they were talking to young girls about the fact that more than 5 drinks in one night is considered binge drinking. Most were concerned that the definition was wrong, since they all drank more than that in any given drinking night - generally at least once a week.
I should make it clear, I drink. I like a few different kinds of alcoholic drinks, and I have been known to be completely stupid in this department. At one point, for years at a time. Now it's a much rarer event, and I always feel like a bloody idiot afterwards. Having said all that, I enjoy a sensible drink, and don't want to see it get more expensive, or harder or anything else that some do-gooder government committee wants to institute.
So what to do? I have a Plan. I don't know if it would work, and it would need some awesome marketing types to make it fly. But I think there is one really significant factor contributing to binge drinking - the desire to always have a drink in your hand. You may know you don't want another beer, but this one is empty and someone is going to the bar so.... Added to this is the fact that most pubs charge only very slightly less for their post mix than they do for the beer. There is a very strong attitude that if the softie is only 50 cents less, they'll have the beer.
We need a change in attitude, a public education campaign to suggest that "One beer, one softie" is the way your evening should progress. Combined with some serious pressure on pubs to reduce the cost of post mix to something sensible (say between $1.50 and $2.50). Profits won't be damaged too much if people start drinking a lot more of it.
Anyone a brilliant marketer that can make this concept cool and sexy?