Alcohol watchdog in ad agency hunt

Alcohol industry watchdog the Portman Group is trawling advertising agencies to create its new autumn campaign to tackle binge drinking among men.

It is understood that five agencies have been shortlisted for the new multi-million pound advertising business. The brief for the campaign is to show men the dangers of excessive drinking.

In the past the Portman Group has worked with agencies on a project basis. Last year, M&C Saatchi created a cinema and television campaign featuring a chimpanzee that behaved like a drunk. The ad was aimed at curbing binge drinking among young adults. It used the tagline: “Don’t be the drunken monkey.” It is not clear if M&C Saatchi is pitching for the business.

In December the watchdog launched a cinema campaign, called “Jekyll and Hyde”, targeting women. Created by London agency Iodine Media, the ad showed a young woman at work during the week and her behaviour when out with friends. She is seen vomiting in nightclub toilets and ends up in a gutter holding on to her friends.

As the Portman Group is looking for an advertising agency to highlight to men the health dangers of excessive drinking, the Government is on the defensive over its move to relax licensing laws.

Under the new Licensing Act, bars and pubs can apply for licences allowing flexible opening hours. The new licences, which could pave the way for 24-hour drinking, are planned to come into effect in November.

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