Just Water

A social marketing approach to tackling excessive consumption of energy drinks by teenagers

Just Water cup postersThis is a downloadable schools pack designed to help tackle the issue of under 18s consuming excessive amounts of energy drinks. In Kent we have found that consumption of these drinks by both adults and children has increased exponentially in the last few years, helped in no small part by extremely clever and persuasive marketing campaigns by the drinks companies.

At the Abbey School in Faversham we worked in partnership with the school and South East Water to devise a social marketing approach to this issue. Our aim was to reduce the amount of energy drinks being consumed by students both inside and outside school. The school had already banned energy drinks from the school premises, but they found that the rules were being broken regularly! They wanted to ensure that students were aware of the reasons why the drinks had been banned. This led to the development, in association with Addaction, of six lesson plans for use in PSHE lessons, which you will find on this page, as well as useful handouts and other resources.

These lessons helped students to understand some of the issues around energy drinks, but we wanted to go further and promote the alternative which of course is to drink ‘just water’. We worked with the school council to devise an alternative to the drinks  that was both practical and desirable to the students, so we gave each student a printed ‘can cup’ with designs on that had been decided on by the school council. We didn’t put any school or NHS logos on the cups, as we thought this would put the students off. The can cups were also only given in the first instance to year seven students, leading older students to request their own. The can cups are the only drinks allowed in classes and exams. The school have plenty of fresh water points throughout the premises for filling up, and on ‘Fruity Fridays’ students were allowed a squirt of sugar-free squash when refilling their cups.

We also organised a photoshoot with some of the sixth formers to depict positive images of drinking water from bottles and can cups (you can find examples of these in the pack).

The packs and posters were professionally designed and printed with help from South East Water, who also provided useful information in the packs about water conservation and the role of South East Water in providing water for drinking.

We hope you find the pack useful. If you wanted to order your own can cups these can be easily sourced online. We used www.4imprint.co.uk for ours.