Danish youngsters love to party—studies say they’re the booziest teens in Europe—and, like most people, they don’t like to be preached at about their bad habits.
Armed with that information, execs at Copenhagen-based agency Robert/Boisen & Like-minded created a two-minute public service announcement without showing a single drop of alcohol. Instead, they substituted sausages for hooch and zeroed in on the peer pressure that’s likely responsible for much of the unhealthy binge drinking taking place in the demo.
The result is intentionally wacky. Watch it here:
The agency’s art director, Frederik Voetmann, says the campaign for the Danish Cancer Society and the TrygFonden public health foundation needed a fresh, unconventional approach to tackle a serious issue.
“Recent studies show that nine out of 10 young Danes have been peer pressured to drink more alcohol than they wanted,” he says. “That’s an outrageous number, which clearly indicates that we Danes often struggle to reflect on our alcohol culture. Alcohol is simply a ubiquitous part of our society.”
He’s referring to research from the World Health Organization, which has dubbed Danish teenagers the drunkest in all of Europe. Four out of five 15-year-olds have tried alcohol, stats show, as have one out of three 13-year-olds. Young drinkers are more likely to overindulge as adults, studies show.
Media outlets, including Vice, have been covering the problem in Denmark, highlighting events like the annual “Puttefest,” where the Red Cross sets up first aid tents to treat large numbers of drunken high school revelers.
Access to alcohol is a significant factor since kids as young as 16 can legally buy beer and wine. Hard-drinking social environments are also to blame, Voetmann says, spurring the long-form ad centered on a young man named Mads.
No matter where Mads goes with his friends—the beach, a nightclub, a dinner party, a card game—he’s egged on to consume more and more sausages, with the brightly colored protein used as a stand-in for “how normalized this kind of behavior has become,” Voetmann says.
Mads, in some cases, already nursing a meat hangover, tries to protest, but ends up giving in. The tagline, “Are you pushing the sausage?” is meant to be the work’s call to action and its point of differentiation from other anti-drinking PSAs.
“It bypasses the very effective ad filter that most young people automatically activate when met by communication online,” Voetmann says. After all, “what’s more absurd than a wagonload of sausages replacing the usual alcoholic beverages as party starters?”
The campaign will get distribution on social media platforms and via out-of-home ads around Danish school campuses.