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Anheuser-Busch Wants Drinkers to Take the Pledge on Facebook

Posted by Dale Buss on July 11, 2012 11:05 AM

Anheuser-Busch is hoping it can be more persuasive encouraging responsible drinking via Facebook than Pernod Ricard has been. Pernod's 2012 responsible-drinking campaign included a Facebook pledge on responsible drinking — a move that garnered only 115 "likes" after a week.

Now the American beer giant's new responsible-drinking offensive is testing Facebook to see if it can rally support for a social-responsibility message that it has been repeating for 30 years now. "With close to half a billion adults on Facebook, we see an enormous opportunity to expand our reach to newer generations of adult drinkers," stated Kathy Casso, VP of corporate social responsibility for Anheuser-Busch.

A new website, the optimistically-named NationofResponsibleDrinkers.com, asks adults to pledge their commitment to drink responsibly and share it through Facebook.

Pledgers are swearing allegiance to respect the legal drinking age, enjoy alcohol responsibly and "know when to say when" — or volunteer or find a designated driver if they've had too much. Indications of pledges are then plotted geographically on an interactive map as the "movement" spreads.

It's impossible to know much credit to give such campaigns for any moderation in alcohol consumption, or whether any such efforts are working. About 15 percent of American adults are still binge drinkers, the federal government estimated last year.

Anheuser-Busch wants its target audiences to know that, since it launched "When To Say When" about 30 years ago, the company and its wholesalers have invested more than $930 million in advertising and community-based programs that promote responsible drinking and "prevent" underage drinking and drunk driving.

But can it get the public to "take the pledge" on the world's biggest social network? And if they do, is that the audience they're really trying to reach? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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