Drink safe: Cambrew’s social message

Having a glass of beer in the evening with friends is popular but the risks of excess alcohol consumption are high. Cambrew is one of Cambodia's largest drinks producers and has launched a campaign to encourage responsible drinking. Cambrew Managing Director Vladimir Vava tells Alan Kirk about it. 

Alan: What exactly does responsible drinking mean and why is it important?

Vlad: It’s deeply rooted in Carlsberg’s DNA to take an active part in the well-being of the societies we operate in. As a responsible brewing company, we therefore acknowledge that if you misuse our products they can have a harmful effect. That’s why we since 2017 have had responsible drinking as part of our ESG Strategy actively working on both product development and consumer communication on the topic since.

Carlsberg’s Responsible Drinking strategy rests on two pillars. On product development, we have committed to introducing alcohol-free beers to our customers across all our markets. Simultaneously we have set a target of having 35% of our global fermented volumes in no or low-alcohol beers by 2030. A testament to our activities in this area is that we have introduced close to 60 alcohol-free beers in the last couple of years.

On the marketing side, we do responsible drinking campaigns and partnerships to actively spread the message of moderation and the potential negative impacts  of excessive alcohol consumption.

As part of the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (IARD), we have together with our peers in the industry committed to tackling underage drinking by, among other things, clearly communicating that our alcoholic products should not be consumed by those below the legal drinking age. Therefore, we also actively support the current discussion on introducing a legal drinking age in Cambodia. 

As part of the IARD commitment, we also share messaging through our products on refraining from drinking while pregnant and while driving. In Cambodia, our responsible drinking campaigns send a clear message to our consumers: “Never drink and drive.”

Alan: So, tell us more about the campaign. Who are you targeting? And how are you hoping to reach them?

Vlad: We are targeting a broad audience. But definitely, we are trying to funnel our campaign via all possible communication channels. One that is very important to mention is Facebook and social media in general. We are targeting all our consumers as the effects of irresponsible consumption impact the whole of society. 

We are using our packaging and our SKU (stock keeping units) that we are selling so we will see bottles or cans information about zero irresponsible drinking and don’t drink and drive. 

An area where we have a strong opportunity to spread our message is concerts. 

Alan: How are you getting the message across? What social media? Posters? Television? Radio?

Vladimir: We want to spread our message to as many people as possible. First of all, in all our packages, we put awareness about alcohol consumption. This information should be seen on each of our primary and secondary packages or on the glass bottles. 

During our promo campaign, we use banners informing people about moderate consumption of alcohol.

Another two pillars are very important. Each time we have big events we go to social media. We start these events by sharing our message about underage drinking. Second, we give advice about moderate consumption. 

Alan: how long has Carlsberg been running its campaigns on responsible drinking?

Vlad: Responsible Drinking is one of the original four pillars of Carlsberg’s ESG program Together Towards Zero since we launched it in 2017. Carlsberg is operating in more than 30 markets and our products reach consumers through more than 150 markets. So, I believe that through our ESG targets we can have a significant impact on the countries and communities which we operate in.

Alan: You spoke about the zero-alcohol and low-alcohol beers. What kind of response are you getting from consumers? 

Vladimir: In the US and Western Europe non-alcoholic beers are very popular with consumers and we are committed to spreading this trend to Asia where it’s slowly starting to pick up. In Cambodia, we are introducing our amazing product, Carlsberg 00 alcohol. I’m proud that we can now offer this product to our customers and consumers here as it allows consumers to always choose beer while deciding if they want it with or without alcohol. 

Alan: So far we have talked about your own targets and actions as Carlsberg, but are you considering partnerships with the government of Cambodia?

Vlad: Well, I think it's a very good question because that’s exactly what we as responsible brewers do and why we actively said to the government that we support a legal drinking age at 18 years and that we will support the government through responsible drinking messaging in our campaigns and on products. 

Our ask to the government on the other hand is that they help us by introducing differentiation when it comes to excise, marketing, and availability restrictions as this is a proven strategy recognized by the WHO that can have a positive effect on public health at the population level. By using differentiation as a policy instrument the government can guide consumers from high to low alcohol beverages like beer. This is a tested and documented approach used by the majority of OECD countries and also among countries in Asia.

Alan: Anything else you feel we should know about that you would like to get across?

Vlad: I would just want to underline that Carlsberg takes its responsibility as a brewer very seriously which is why we continue to invest heavily in the area of no and low-alcohol products and why we are committed to sending responsible drinking messages through our marketing campaigns. 

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