Tuesday, January 8


When I was in the UK last month, I stumbled upon a very interesting consumer promotion that really got me thinking.

Now I've always been trained to make sure that the consumer doesn't have to do too much work ... if you want them to engage with your brand, you have to make it easy.  "Ease of use" was an absolute requirement, at least when I was "growing up."

So imagine my curiosity when I saw that this particular promotion was asking people to give up alcohol for a month, for the entire month of January.  No alcohol for a month!

Now certainly the timing is right - January is the month of New Year's Resolutions and Weight Loss, so if it's ever going to happen it certainly would be in January.

But going dry for an entire month?  I guess that didn't include New Year's Eve!  That's a pretty major behavioral change for a brand to require, don't you think?

Now what's the brand you might ask?  Here's where it starts to make some sense.

Cancer Research UK ... an organization dedicated to doing cancer research (with a focus on breast cancer) to find a cure.

They are asking people to give up drinking, and donate the money they would have spent to research.  This is the inaugural year, so I guess they will see how it goes?!?

It's such a big ask that it would take something like cancer to motivate people.  And by the looks of the forums, blog posts, and Twitter activity at #dryathon, it's beginning to work.  People are engaging ... and using it all as an excuse to get healthy, lose weight, and sober up.   (a key component of trying to avoid cancer and other health issues in the first place)

Maybe it's ok to ask consumers to do some heavy lifting ... if it's for the right reason!

What's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

PS -- Join us on Twitter for live tweets during The Golden Globes this Sunday 1/13/13 at 6:30EST at #GGExp (we'll be talking about the marketing, and a few other things)


  1. I think it's pretty smart. Whether it's drinking or something else you can't ask people to act/change without a reason/reward. Good strategy to align with a cause that unfortunately affects a majority of people, giving them a large target audience. (I personally can't think of anyone who hasn't been touched by breast cancer.) And quite honestly unless you have a drinking problem, it is entirely possible to give it up for month. I'd like to see someone do this campaign with smoking.

  2. Good idea .... donate the cash you would have spent on cigs! JIM

  3. And from what I hear about the price of cigs that would be a lot of money....

  4. Would hopefully make an impact! JIM.