Posted on Tuesday 16 July 2013 by Ulster Business

Think Before you Drink

Video Below

The days when embarrassing drunken behaviour was only witnessed by those present and the main thing to worry about was a headache in the morning are long gone – it's 'digital hangovers' causing younger drinkers concern today.

New research from Diageo, producer of Smirnoff, Captain Morgan and Guinness, (conducted by OnePoll), shows 46% of drinkers aged 18-24 yrs old throughout the island of Ireland have had to ask friends to remove images and videos of themselves from social media due to the embarrassment it has caused. The problem is compounded with 65% of this age group admitting to judging friends or colleagues based on photographs and movies that show them on a drunken night out.

The study was commissioned by Diageo to support its latest pan European online responsible drinking campaign, Think How You Drink'. The campaign encourages young adults to consider their alcohol intake by warning them how ridiculous they can look on a drunken night out and how their antics can have far wider consequences than just the short term embarrassment. To illustrate the message, Diageo has produced a short film featuring some of the most embarrassing drunken walks captured in camera phone and CCTV style.

Thanks to the proliferation of social media and an eagerness to share images and video to document a night out, young drinkers are increasingly suffering from a 'digital hangover' - the shame and embarrassment about being judged based on 'drunken' photos and films posted online. The warning is clear – unless people want to be the next online sensation due to their drunken behaviour they should think how they drink.

Key findings from Diageo's Ireland wide research looking into attitudes towards drinking and the social repercussions include:

· Forgotten Journeys: Nearly half of all males surveyed (49%) and 33% of women have been so drunk that they haven't remembered their walk home. Drinkers aged 25-34 yr olds are most likely to do this with 52% admitting memory loss. The least likely group is 55+ but still as many as 22% have had no memories of drunken journeys back. Alarmingly as many as, 30% of men and 27% of women will forget 2 – 3 journeys per year

· Drunken Embarrassment: 50% of women admit to being embarrassed by drunken pictures/videos of themselves whereas 26% of men were unconcerned. 40% of 18 – 24 year olds have seen drunken images / videos which they cannot remember being taken whilst 25 – 34 year olds are the group most embarrassed regarding their behaviour at 72% whilst only 26% 55+yr olds admit to being embarrassed.

· Requests to Remove: 16% of all respondents have asked people to remove embarrassing material of them drunk. People from Connaught are most likely to ask friend to remove them with 23%. By far the highest age group asking for content to be removed is 18-24yr olds with 48%

· Sorry State: Men are the most apologetic for their drunken behaviour, with 42% having to say sorry. Although 59% of women are embarrassed by their behaviour only 34% will apologise for it

· The 'Big Night with Friends': By far the most common reason for embarrassing drunk behaviour is a 'big night out with mates' with 41.3%%. Although festival season is in full-swing, less than 1% cited a music festival as an event where they were embarrassed by their drunken behaviour

· Social Judges: Women are most likely to judge people based on pictures or video of them drunk on social media with 55%, compared to 44% of men. Northern Ireland is the most judgemental area at 57% and 52% respectively and 18-24 yr old drinkers are the most judgemental age group with 65%

Malcolm D'Sa, Marketing Innovation Director for Diageo Western Europe said:

"Today's drinkers don't just have to worry about what happens on a night out, they have to deal with the digital fallout. Videos and images on social media are causing more than just a headache and nausea; it's causing a 'digital hangover' involving shame and embarrassment that last longer. There's that horrifying moment when an embarrassing or 'career limiting' picture or video is posted online and causes a flurry of comments and, increasingly, judgements. With hundreds of friends, family and even work colleagues on social networks, your drunken behaviour and subsequent shame could spread and be immortalised on social media."

"We know that drinking to excess is still a serious issue for a minority of people and with this video we are deliberately using humour to catch young adults' attention and deliver a serious message at the end . The people we are trying to reach are online and on social media and we know that humour is a more effective way of delivering a message across those channels."

The 'Think How You Drink' campaign will also feature as part of Diageo's other responsible drinking initiatives over the next 18 months, including during Fresher's Week and via the 'Ask Dave' alcohol calculator that helps users keep a track of their drinking.

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