Not the Answer


Alcohol – Not the Answer” was first launched in November 2020 as a response to concerns about rising levels of alcohol consumption during Covid.
Not the Answer was the first alcohol mass media campaign in the world to respond to worrying statistics showing record alcohol deaths during the pandemic. Research showed 1 in 4 drinkers were drinking more, especially those who had been already drinking heavily.
Alcohol is linked to a range of serious conditions including seven types of cancer, heart disease and stroke. But in 2020 the World Health Organisation warned that alcohol can also weaken the immune system and reduce the ability to cope with infectious diseases such as Covid.
The campaign outlines the broad range of physical and mental health problems linked to drinking with the message alcohol is “not the answer” but is likely to make us feel worse.
The campaign was originally funded by the support of the NHS North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care System and the 12 local authorities in the North East, running on TV, catch up TV, radio, digital and Facebook.
The campaign featured a full suite of resources and a landing page on


An online survey of 600 people across the NE and Cumbria found that the campaign evaluated positively, and had the biggest impact among increasing and higher risk drinkers.


  • 48% of adults / 55% of IHR drinkers recalled the campaign
  • 66% thought the campaign was good or excellent
  • 81% felt it was easy to understand
  • 75% felt it was important to have ads like this
  • 74% found it believable and over half (52%) felt it was aimed at them
  • 12% talked about the issues with family or friends

Motivation to take action as a result of the campaign (drinkers / IHR drinkers who recalled campaign):

  • 36% drinkers/ 50% of IHR drinkers felt they should cut down
  • 35% drinkers/ 47% IHR drinkers felt they should take more drink free days
  • 34% drinkers/ 44% IHR drinkers felt more likely to take time off in the future
  • 33% drinkers/ 42% IHR drinkers felt more concerned about how much they drink

Actions (among drinkers who saw campaign)

  • 21% cut down how often they drink
  • 19% cut down on how much they drink
  • 11% started monitoring their units
  • 10% found out more about units/ guidelines


  • Over 70,000 site visits to the campaign website
  • Over 17,000 quiz sessions
  • 83k Facebook engagements/ over 1,000 on Twitter
  • 382,000 Facebook video views