You know the drill. When the most festive part of the year comes along, you can eat whatever you like, whenever you like. It’s part of the Christmas tradition to stuff yourself with turkey, mince pies and puddings. There is the party booze that keeps things merry as well – can’t beat a good ol’ mulled wine can we?! January however, is another story altogether. It consists of putting yourself through diets and crazy gym regimes to lose those extra pounds. I remember spotting something about Dryathlon on my Facebook feed in January. PR Week magazine focused on the success of the fundraising campaign in raising awareness of Cancer Research UK.
In-house and Unity PR were the teams involved in the campaign to raise donations for the charity. Social drinkers were put to the test and set the challenge of drinking no alcohol for a month and raising sponsorship as a result. What was important for this campaign was to not be preachy by focusing on how alcohol isn’t good for your health. It was a good way of testing the willpower of a person by making it fun. This was good timing because individuals would have been looking to give something up following a huge Christmas binge.
There were a lot of key components that contributed to the overall success of the campaign. I liked how relevant surveys were released, celebrities got involved to mentor Dryathletes and social media was implemented. I can see why the campaign was accused of encouraging binge drinking, because the end of the Dryathlon could have resulted in a long drinking session for those who took part. Perhaps the PR agencies should have thought about releasing case studies of the positive effects of being sober for a month in between the traditional PR methods, rather than waiting for a backlash.
Nevertheless, the campaign was a huge success, indicated by 35 pieces of national print coverage it gained and increases in likes and followers on Facebook and Twitter respectively. The key measurement of the success however, was that of the raising of £4m for Cancer Research UK. I really liked this campaign because it intended to make people give something up for a good cause. If those who did go dry for the whole month noticed positive things health wise, then it might have been an incentive to actually give up alcohol. For me, that would be the real success story.