Complaints to the Swedish Consumer Agency about alcohol advertising have gone up by 800% after sobriety organization IOGT-NTO introduced their Alcohol Bothers campaign last summer. This explosive growth, compared to the same period last year, can be ascribed to an online service making it very easy for people to report their complaint through social media.

“When we spoke to the Swedish Consumer Agency last year they told us they weren’t very busy with alcohol adverts, because they did not have the resources and because people did not file many complaints. They received approximately 60 per year,” explains IOGT-NTOs European officer Irma Kilim. “We at IOGT-NTO were certain that people were bothered by alcohol advertisements but that they did not always know that what they saw is illegal or even where to report it.”

This motivated the organization formerly known as the International Organisation of Good Templars to create a tool for people to easily report alcohol advertisements and to show the prevalence of alcohol advertisements.

The tool works very easy through social media. Anytime an Instagram or Twitter message contains the hashtag #alkoholstör it is automatically entered into IOGT-NTOs database. The organization filters the incoming ads and publishes the relevant ones on the alcohol bothers website. Kilim ads that:”We also trained four ambassadors who looked through all the pictures and reported them to the Swedish office of consumers. If we compare the campaign period to the same period last year, we can see a raise in reports with 800%.”

The reporting tool however is only one tier of the Alcohol Bothers campaign. Before IOGT-NTO started reporting on alcohol advertisements, they gathered the email addresses of all candidates for the Swedish elections. Through the Alcohol Bothers website, people can contact any of the candidates to ask them, ”Do you think that the Swedish legislation for alcohol advertising should be more restrictive?” ”We knew that the Swedish people had a strong opinion in this but we wanted to show that there is a great political will as well”, Kilim explains. In this the campaign has already succeeded, with over 70% of the political response being in favor of further restrictions.

The Alcohol Bothers website includes a bit of information on every candidate and the possibility to directly ask them the above mentioned question. Additionally, anyone interested could go to the website, find the candidate they are interested in and click on their name. This will present them with a pre-written post card asking you only to fill in your contact information and hit “send”.

“Our goal was that every candidate should be asked at least once, that half of the candidates answered our question and that the majority of those who answered would say ‘Yes’. We reached all these goals, and got more candidates to answer than the biggest political surveys in Sweden,” Irma Kilim told EUCAM. ”It’s a big success!”

Besides these local and national Swedish parts of the campaign, IOGT-NTO is also planning a global Alcohol Bother campaign.

For more information, or to send an example of Swedish alcohol marketing that bothers you, go to the Alcohol Bothers website>>