Making sure the message is understood.

On January 9, Éduc’alcool launched a campaign promoting low-risk drinking guidelines – our latest effort to combat excessive drinking.

We have received a lot of feedback, and the impact of the campaign has been measured with scientific rigour.

The vast majority of Quebecers liked the campaign and understood its message, and many of them have done some serious thinking about their drinking. However, we felt compelled to address the fact that some people – albeit a small minority – have misinterpreted the campaign to mean that people must drink as much as the recommended limit.

Obviously, this is not what we were saying. The message was as follows: Women should limit themselves to 2 drinks a day and 10 a week. For men, the limits are 3 drinks a day and 15 a week. By definition, a limit is something that must not be exceeded; it is not an objective to be achieved.

While the copy was clear as can be, our research shows that some people took it to mean that women should have 2 drinks a day and 10 a week, and men, 3 drinks a day and 15 a week.

We have therefore changed the message to read as follows: Women should have no more than 2 drinks a day, while their weekly total should not exceed 10 drinks. Men should have no more than 3 drinks a day and their weekly total should not exceed 15 drinks. If you tend to drink less than that, don’t increase your drinking. If you tend to drink more than that, you should cut back to the recommended limits.

It’s exactly the same message, yet expressed differently, in a way that we hope will prevent any further misinterpretation. And, as always, we shall continue to evaluate the impact of our campaigns to help all Quebecers make enlightened decisions about drinking.

Hubert Sacy
Director General