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Social marketing and community mobilisation to reduce alcohol-related harms


A new social marketing intervention is being developed and trialled in a partnership between Deakin University and CTC Ltd. The intervention has been designed using an evidence-based behaviour change approach called the Theory of Planned Behaviour. The social marketing intervention focuses on alerting parents and adolescents to the NHMRC (2009) guidelines for safe alcohol use, and seeks to convince parents and adolescents to set agreements that adults will not supply alcohol to underage youth.

Evaluation Evidence

Evidence from community mobilisation interventions suggest that multi-level, targeted prevention programs are effective at reducing adolescent alcohol use. In the US, Project Northland combined community-wide taskforce education with peer leadership and parental involvement/education to achieve a small but significant reduction in weekly adolescent alcohol use in those exposed to the intervention, compared to the control group. Australian programs have also achieved success in reducing alcohol- related harm through a combination of community mobilisation (evident through increased media activity, the formation of coalitions and groups, and increased community awareness and concern for alcohol-related harm) and social marketing strategies (Cooper, Midford, Jaeger, & Hall, 2001; Midford & Boots, 1999).

Monitoring Recommendations

  • • Monitoring information should include: the local dissemination of social marketing materials; consumer recognition and reactions; improvements over time compared to controls communities in targeted risk and protective factors and alcohol behaviours.

Conflict of Interest

Note John Toumbourou wrote this review and led the Deakin program development


Mr Bosco Rowland School of Psychology

Deakin University

(03) 5227 8278
Program details
Target Audience: 
11 - 17 years
Target Risk Factors: 
  • Community disorganisation
  • Perceived availability of drugs (alcohol)
  • Laws and norms favourable to drug use
  • Parental attitudes favourable to problem behaviour
  • Favourable attitudes to alcohol use
Target Protective Factors: 
  • Community attachment
  • Community opportunities for prosocial involvement
  • Community rewards for prosocial involvement
Community Indicators: 
  • High rates on indicators of youth alcohol-related harm
  • High rates of alcohol misuse