Nobody wants to be That Guy, the one who after one too many drinks, loses control of self or situation with humiliating or embarrassing results. To prevent excessive drinking as we move into spring, or during “101 Critical days of Summer,” and beyond Our Banana Moments is participating in a military service-wide initiative called That Guy to help reduce excessive drinking among young enlisted personnel. Even though this program is designed to target young enlisted military personnel, we are hoping to raise awareness outside of the military to high school and college aged students. In any setting, being That Guy is not cool.
The 2005 Department of Defense Survey of Health Related Behaviors revealed a rising rate of “binge” drinking among junior enlisted personnel in all Services. Additionally, the data in the survey indicated the problem was particularly evident among young enlisted males between the ages of 18 and 24. This trend toward heavy, or binge drinking, has the potential of adversely affecting the health and welfare of service members and their families and the combat readiness of the military as well. In response, in 2005, the Department of Defense’s TRICARE Management Activity (TMA) retained Fleishman-Hillard International Communications (FH) to create a multi-year, integrated communications campaign with goals to: 1) help reduce alcohol abuse among active duty military, and 2) raise awareness of the negative effects of excessive drinking among enlisted personnel ages 18 through 24. That Guy is designed to respond to this problem through an innovative multimedia campaign that focuses on enlisted personnel, E1-E4, age 18 to 24. The theme, “Don’t be That Guy,” aims to increase social disapproval of excessive drinking by highlighting the resulting embarrassment and negative consequences that most resonate with young adults in general, and specifically with those serving in the military. The campaign has been tested at multiple installations since the launch of the campaign in 2006. Feedback from testing has been used to shape a campaign strategy and components that will be most effective. Moreover, it is working!
Results from the 2008 DoD Survey of Health Related Behaviors show a decline in binge drinking among the target audience. This represents a statistically significant drop in binge drinking from the 2005 level. In 2005, 51 percent of the target audience admitted to binge drinking, and by 2008, that figure dropped to 46 percent. There was a statistically significant decline of 11 percent at installations* that had implemented the That Guy campaign over those that had not. (*Marines not included in this total because the control sample among Marines is too small to use for comparison with the treated sample (n=3).) (http://www.thatguy.com/)