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Published:  23 July, 2008

By Julie Sheppard

On 14 July Diageo GB launched its first ever national TV campaign to promote responsible drinking. Targeted at 18- to 34-year-olds, the 30-second TV ad, which aims to help drinkers understand their limits, will be broadcast on both terrestrial and satellite stations. Linked to the Smirnoff vodka brand and called Congratulations', it shows a man congratulating a couple on their engagement, but who then shocks the bride-to-be by revealing too much about her fianc's womanising college days. It ends with the strapline: Knowing when to stop is a good thing'. Tony Mair, corporate affairs director at Diageo GB, said: The launch of the new Smirnoff responsible drinking campaign marks a major step forward for the industry. We are seriously concerned about alcohol misuse and believe we have a role to play in educating consumers about how to drink responsibly.' He added that the onus is on the industry to support such initiatives. Whilst we've started our social responsibility programme with this ad, we are ultimately looking for support within the industry to encourage responsible drinking among customers. The industry now needs to make positive steps to change ingrained cultural behaviour,' Mair said.The Portman Group's campaign, Respect Alcohol, Respect Yourself', launched on 9 July, also aims to change ingrained attitudes towards drinking. A recent survey commissioned by the Group revealed that 18- to 30-year-olds are ten times more likely to get drunk every day or almost every day whilst they are on holiday than when they are at home. Our survey shows that incredible numbers of young people think it is normal to get drunk on holiday. Our new summer campaign gives them advice on how to stay safe, enjoy the summer and drink responsibly,' said Jean Coussins, chief executive of The Portman Group. Around 50,000 brightly coloured credit card-sized guides, with information on issues such as dehydration and the larger measures served abroad, will be distributed in bars and pubs around London and at events such as the Foster's British Grand Prix and Cowes Week. The initiative is part of the Portman Group's ongoing campaign: If you do do drink, don't do drunk'. The Metropolitan Police is also planning a targeted alcohol awareness campaign later in the year, following concerns over the links between women binge-drinking and increased rape incidents in London. One woman a week is now raped in a London minicab and out of 1,000 women aged 18-31, 56% admitted to drinking so much on a night out that they had memory loss, according to a survey in Company magazine (December 2002). Project Sapphire, part of the Met, and the UK's leading sexual offences unit, will co-ordinate the campaign urging females to drink moderately, stay together and look after each other on nights out. Detective inspector Martin Johnson, of Project Sapphire, said, We have seen a significant increase in the number of women who are drinking heavily, some so much that they suffer memory loss.'