New Campaign Seeks To Combat Underage Drinking by Teaching Parents How To Talk To Their Teens

Research With Experts, Parents & Teens Suggests Early, Frequent, Engaging Dialog

May 07, 2014, 10:19 ET from Pernod Ricard USA

NEW YORK, May 7, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- The Alcohol Talk,  a new public education campaign to help parents talk with their teens about drinking, was unveiled today by sponsor Pernod Ricard USA, the New York-based unit of the global spirits and wine marketer.  The campaign emphasizes the timing, language and opportunities parents can use to have this conversation with confidence and credibility, based on input from experts, parents and teens themselves.

According to campaign spokesperson and contributor Dr. Jennifer Powell-Lunder, a clinical psychologist specializing in adolescent behavior, most parents understand the importance of having The Alcohol Talk and have access to information on what to say, but think their teen won't listen to them.  "Almost three-quarters of teens say they value their parents' input on drinking.  As such, our materials provide actionable direction on how parents can have this essential talk, including how to keep the dialog going from pre-teen years through high school."

The campaign features user-friendly text and video content online at  It was developed from more than 40 hours of focus group conversations with a range of experts, parents and teens.  The conversations were analyzed by a linguist and then organized into a series of dialog clusters and scenarios to provide real-world tips on how to talk about this challenging subject.

The major sections of include: Why Have the Talk, How & When to Start the Talk, Who to Involve in the Talk, Helpful Language to Use and How to Keep Them Talking.  Each section contains text overviews, key statistics, tips on how to talk about each topic, and videos of teens and parents commenting on their experiences with The Alcohol Talk.  

Throughout the site content, experts, parents and teens agree on the following, key points:

  1. Start the conversation early ... as early as fifth grade years or younger
  2. Engage teens in the conversation ... ask how they would deal with various situations involving alcohol, don't just lecture
  3. Talk often ... The Alcohol Talk isn't one conversation, it is an on-going dialog that encompasses what teens see on TV, online and in movies as much as what happens in their lives
  4. Parents' input counts ... teens value their parents' opinions and experiences, which have a major impact on decisions about drinking
  5. Be a parent, not a pal ... teens need to know underage drinking is dangerous and illegal, and they need to know the consequences of making bad decisions.

All of the online content is designed for easy sharing among parents via social media, especially the videos discussing what does and doesn't work -- and why.  The site also links to the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR), a distilled-spirits industry funded, national not for profit organization that is a leader in the fight against drunk driving and underage drinking.  FAAR's website and programs contain a wealth of supplemental information and statistics useful to parents.

To supplement its focus group research, Pernod Ricard USA commissioned a national, online poll of 150 parents of teens and 150 teens, asking similar questions about underage drinking to see how the points of view of the two groups compare.  Among the results, perhaps most surprising to parents is that although 70 percent of teens said they value their parents' input on drinking, almost half of these teens said they think their parents will just lecture them and stipulate rules and punishments, rather than have a genuine discussion.  This finding underscores the importance of parents learning how to talk, not just what to say, according to Dr. Powell-Lunder.

Other key findings from the online poll include:

  • Most parents start the conversation about alcohol with their children starting in sixth grade, but almost two-thirds of teens say they became aware of alcohol before fifth grade
  • 58% of teens report that conversations with parents about drinking have an impact on their decisions about drinking, but only half of all parents think their teens want to discuss the topic with them.
  • When asked why teens shouldn't drink, only 12% of parents said it was illegal.  Most parents cite drunk driving (57%) and personal safety (22%) issues as more important.
  • In contrast, 30% of teens said underage drinking is illegal, while 34% cited the potential for personal harm, and 22% cited potential for impairing health.

New content will be added to on a when-available basis, including such features as webinars with experts, a monitored forum board for parents to share experiences, new video of teens and parents discussing drinking, and polls on additional underage drinking issues.

"Our research underscores the disparity in how underage drinking is viewed by parents and teens and the need for parents to learn how to talk about it, not just what to say," concludes Dr. Powell-Lunder.  "At the end of the day, both parents and teens agree underage drinking is the social issue facing teens that needs the most discussion.  The Alcohol Talk campaign can help parents frame that conversation to help make it more relevant, meaningful and successful."

About Pernod Ricard USA®:
Pernod Ricard USA is the premium spirits and wine company in the U.S., and the largest subsidiary of Paris, France-based Pernod Ricard SA, which employs nearly 19,000 people worldwide and is listed on the NYSE Euronext exchange (Ticker: RI).

The company's leading spirits and wines include such prestigious brands as Absolut® Vodka, Chivas Regal® Scotch Whisky, The Glenlivet® Single Malt Scotch Whisky, Jameson® Irish Whiskey, Malibu®, Kahlua® Liqueur, Beefeater® Gin, Plymouth™ Gin, Seagram's Extra Dry Gin®, Martell® Cognac, Hiram Walker® Liqueurs, Pernod®, Ricard® and Avion™ Tequila (through a joint venture with Tequila Avion); such superior wines as Jacob's Creek® and Brancott Estate®; and such exquisite champagnes and sparkling wines as Perrier-Jouet® Champagne, G.H. Mumm™ Champagne and Mumm Napa® sparkling wines.

Pernod Ricard USA is based in New York, New York, and has approximately 850 employees across the country. Pernod Ricard USA urges all adults to consume its products responsibly and has an active campaign to promote responsible drinking. For more information on this, please visit:

About the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility:
Formerly known as The Century Council, the Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility (FAAR) is a national not-for-profit that leads the fight to eliminate drunk driving and underage drinking and is funded by the following distillers: Bacardi U.S.A., Inc.; Beam, Inc.; Brown-Forman; Constellation Brands, Inc.; DIAGEO; Hood River Distillers, Inc.; and Pernod Ricard USA. For more than 23 years, FAAR has transformed countless lives through programs that bring individuals, families and communities together to guide a lifetime of conversations around alcohol responsibility. To learn more, please visit us at

SOURCE Pernod Ricard USA