Portman Group in bid to rid rugby of ‘drunkard’ image

The Portman Group, the self-regulatory body of the alcoholic drinks industry, is planning to help rugby shrug off its image as a sport associated with heavy drinking in a tie-up with the National League Second Division club London Skolars.

The partnership will see the group becoming the shirt sponsor for the London team. This will be the first time that the Portman Group has teamed up with a sports club to campaign for sensible drinking.

The Portman Group is also advertising at Tetley’s Super League rugby matches around the UK.

The newly appointed director of campaigns and communications at the Portman Group, Jim Minton, says: “Today’s athletes understand that drinking in excess will damage their performance. For fans, having a drink after a match to celebrate or commiserate, is all part of a big match day. That is why the ‘If you do do drink, don’t do drunk’ campaign works so well for rugby league.”

The sponsorship will aim to target 18to 24-year-olds. Minton adds that he sees sports as one of the ways to make the message appeal to the target market.

The industry-funded alcohol watchdog recently proposed that distillers and brewers should use their advertising to encourage consumers not to drink too much.

The call followed the Government’s consultation on a national alcohol harm-reduction strategy, which attempted to reduce post-pub violence and hangover-fuelled absenteeism from the workplace.

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