Binge Drinking in NY – Fear Appeal


This campaign in New York is an example of a fear appeal.  New York has a serious binge drinking problem; according to a 2012 Community Health Survey, 1 in 5 New Yorkers say they’ve engaged in binge drinking in the past 30 days, and 56.7 percent say they’ve had at least one drink during the same time period (Huffington Post, 2013).  Mayor Bloomberg and the health department created this campaign to help lower binge drinking rates because studies show binge drinking is linked to higher unprotected sex levels, drug use, and violence.  The posters feature New Yorkers visibly drunk with taglines that include, “Two Drinks Ago, You Could Still Get Yourself Home.”   I consider this a moderate fear-based appeal, versus a strong fear-based appeal.  It will be interesting to see if this campaign raises awareness and promotes lasting behavior change.  Fear appeals work best when they are accompanied by solutions that are easy to perform and effective (Lee & Kotler, 2011).  Even though this is only a moderate fear-based appeal, I think it could be improved with some additional solutions or alternatives, but perhaps those resources are located elsewhere.



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