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"Reputations Aren't Drunk-Proof": U of M students launch campaign to reduce high-risk drinking

Designed and implemented by undergraduates from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication, "The Other Hangover" campaign focuses on social consequences

September 9, 2010

A group of students from the University of Minnesota’s School of Journalism and Mass Communication (SJMC) have taken a break from their usual routine of studying and test-taking to tackle the very real-world task of implementing a fully-integrated advertising campaign aimed at reducing high-risk drinking behavior among their peers.

Launched today, The Other Hangover project takes a different approach from previous health campaigns targeting excessive drinking habits among college students. Focusing on the negative social and reputational consequences of high-risk drinking behavior, The Other Hangover uses edgy and arresting advertising messages designed to grab students’ attention -- and cause them to consider the full implications of their drinking habits.

“What’s unique about this project is that it’s a completely student designed and student-driven initiative,” said Dan Lans, SJMC undergraduate and one of several student project leaders. “We’re really talking to our peers about the dangers of high-risk drinking, and asking them to think about their behavior from a different perspective. Also, it’s a great opportunity for our group to see something we’ve all worked really hard on become a reality on campus.”

A common slogan throughout the campaign, “Don’t Over Do It,” stresses the campaign’s message of moderation, while individual ads focus attention on the common social “hangovers” created by a night of heavy drinking, such as shame, regret, embarrassment or guilt. The tag-line, “Reputations Aren’t Drunk-Proof,” appears frequently within campaign advertisements.

The Other Hangover is the award winning creation of a group of undergraduate advertising students from the SJMC, who competed in the 2009 National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). The campaign designed by the university’s NSAC team was considered among the best and most innovative in the country, and following the competition the sponsors of the event, The Century Council, invited the U to apply for a $75,000 grant to be used to implement and evaluate portions of the campaign. The Century Council is a national non-profit organization that promotes responsible decision-making around alcohol consumption.

SJMC graduate students Nathan Gilkerson and Michelle Gross authored the grant application last fall and have worked throughout the summer to help lead a group of eight SJMC undergraduate students in adapting and implementing the various aspects of the campaign.

The group of SJMC undergraduates have coordinated everything that goes into executing a campaign, from graphics and web design work, to researching and managing printing vendors, along with negotiating contracts with media outlets. Elements of the campaign will be visible both online and across the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities campus.

Along with a significant online presence -- via both a student-designed web site ( and a Facebook page ( -- traditional advertising will also appear in The Minnesota Daily, on a Stadium Village billboard, bus shelter displays, sidewalk and mirror clings throughout campus and on posters and promotional items. Advertising has also been coordinated to appear within the student seating sections, bathrooms and on the large screen video board during Gopher football games at TCF Bank Stadium this fall.

The Other Hangover campaign is launching on the Twin Cities campus this September, in conjunction with the start of the fall semester, and will run through December.

Undergraduate student members of The Other Hangover launch team: Rachel Armstrong, Lauren Fink, Hope Horstmann, Daniel Lans, Laura Rask, Fiona Severson, Zach Stern and James Wakely.

Other Hangover 300

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