Happy Birthday, Talk It Out!

Celebrating One Year of Starting Conversations

One year ago, December 3rd, 2014, the North Carolina ABC Commission launched the Talk It Out campaign. Talk It Out was born out of an initial directive from NC Governor Pat McCrory and came to life after in-depth, original statewide research.

The survey results were shocking. We learned that the average North Carolina youth begins drinking before age14. We learned that kids believe that underage drinking is a much larger issue than their parents do. We learned that while kids want to hear from their parents about underage drinking, their parents feel ill-equipped to have those conversations.

Based on our research, the focus of the campaign was clear—educate parents about the dangers of underage drinking and empower them to talk with their kids about the issue openly, honestly and often.

The first phase of the campaign hit the airwaves with a bang. Hard-hitting television, radio and display, and outdoor advertising hinged on the tagline: “It’s never too early to talk to your children about the dangers of underage drinking. But it can be too late.”

With support from a strong, vibrant network of partners and coalition members, the Talk It Out message is spreading from the mountains to the coast.

Less than six months into the campaign we went back into the field, surveying again to understand the initial impact of our outreach. We found that our efforts were starting to make a difference. Of those who recalled seeing the Talk It Out television ads, 90 percent said they had talked with their kids about underage drinking.

But where we saw progress in some areas, we saw room for improvement in others. While research showed that more parents believe that underage drinking is a serious problem, nearly half don’t believe that their own children would drink underage.

This provided the foundation for Phase II—to help parents face the reality that this not only could be their child, but statistically speaking, it probably will be their child and much sooner than expected.

In addition to new advertisements, we’re working on some great resources for parents and partners. With Phase II will also come a new focus on the effects of alcohol on the developing brain (more to come!).

So, here we are. One year, well over 100 million advertising and earned media impressions, two original statewide surveys, 15 statewide partners, 57 coalition partners, two advertising campaigns, and more than 25 events later.

Talk It Out is making a difference. It’s starting conversations and it’s changing lives. And we’re more energized than ever.

One year down and many more to go! We’re excited to see how Talk It Out continues to make a difference in our state. Thank you to all of our partners, coalitions and supporters!