ABC Commission Launches Second Phase of ‘Talk It Out’ Campaign Against Underage Drinking

September 2015

New Ads Highlight Parents’ Role in Reducing Underage Drinking

Talk It Out CampaignThe N.C. ABC Commission is launching the second phase of its “Talk It Out” campaign with new hard-hitting ads that emphasize parental responsibility for reducing underage drinking. The campaign is designed to raise awareness of the issue in North Carolina and to educate and empower parents to talk with their children about underage drinking.

The launch of the new phase of the campaign coincides with the back-to-school timeframe and encourages parents to use this pivotal time of year as a natural time to have discussions with their tweens and teens. A series of TV and radio ads drives home the message that these are not conversations parents can afford to put off.

“Talking about underage drinking with your child is not comfortable or easy, but it is necessary,” said ABC Commission Chairman Jim Gardner. “One of the most disturbing findings in our most recent round of research is that many parents acknowledge that underage drinking is a problem in North Carolina, but they aren’t concerned about their own children drinking underage. This is a dangerous disconnect with potentially devastating consequences for our state’s families and young people. Denying what our children are clearly telling us does not make the problem go away.”

The initial research the campaign was based upon was conducted in July 2014. Another round of statewide surveys of 500 parents of middle and high school students and 300 students in middle and high school was conducted between March 31 and April 9 of this year.

The 2015 surveys show that 87 percent of parents see underage drinking as a community problem, but only 59 percent are concerned about their own underage children drinking. Gardner says the fact that the level of concern parents have about their own underage children drinking decreased from the 2014 survey (64 percent to 59 percent) underscores why this will be a significant area of focus for the second phase of the campaign.

The 2015 surveys also shows the vast majority (94 percent) of North Carolina’s youth say underage drinking is a problem, and that 54 percent think it’s a big problem, while only 44 percent of parents think it’s a serious problem.

The researchers who conducted the surveys, McLaughlin & Associates, say that, while students continue to view underage drinking as a bigger problem than parents, a comparison of the 2014 and 2015 surveys shows that gap is starting to shrink. The researchers say the overall problem percentage hasn’t significantly increased among parents from the last survey, but the advertising has assisted in changing their perception of how serious a problem underage drinking is.

The key difference is the rise in the percentage of parents who think underage drinking is a serious problem. This group increased in size by seven points (37 percent to 44 percent) between July 2014 and the spring of 2015. If parents recall one of the campaign’s TV ads, the overall problem percentage is 88 percent, including 47 percent who think it’s a serious problem. Among those who haven’t seen a television ad, the percentages are 86 percent “total” problem including a 41 percent “serious” problem.

Survey results from this year’s research are available on the Talk It Out website at www.TalkItOutNC.org. The website also includes conversation starters and other tips and resources for parents to start talking with their kids about underage drinking.