Statewide campaign launches new ads in fight against underage drinking

With new Talk It Out phase comes new direction, new message, new resources for parents

CHAPEL HILL, NC—August 31, 2017: The North Carolina Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (NC ABC Commission) today launched the fourth phase of its Talk It Out campaign, the statewide multimedia effort designed to raise awareness of underage drinking prevention and empower parents to talk with their kids about the issue.

The Talk It Out campaign has become a powerful tool to address the issue of underage drinking, and parents and children across the state report that it’s working. The campaign launched in 2014 to combat a problem that research shows starts at the average early age of 14 years old.

“Underage drinking has been and continues to be a significant issue for our state, but the good news is that the results we’ve seen throughout the years of the Talk It Out campaign demonstrate that we’re on the right track,” said NC ABC Commission Chairman Zander Guy. “A considerable percentage of parents (42%) and kids (52%) recall our previous ads, but there is still work to be done. That’s why Talk it Out has developed new ads and new tools for parents.”

Campaign research shows that parents who have seen the ads are more likely to talk to their kids. The same research also shows, however, that parents still do not feel prepared to have those tough conversations, and many are unsure how to approach the conversations.

Phase IV is aimed directly at parents to help them understand that talking to their kids about alcohol doesn’t have to be a big production. The new commercials urge parents to take immediate action to begin having these necessary conversations and make them part of their regular routine. The campaign has developed new tools in both Spanish and English to help parents overcome their hesitancy to start these conversations.

“This new phase is an exciting evolution of the Talk It Out campaign,” said Kat Haney, Director of the Initiative to Reduce Underage Drinking. “I think our community coalitions, statewide partners, and parents will all find the call-to-action and the supporting materials on our website very helpful.”

For the first time in its history, every element of the Talk It Out campaign, including the advertisements, is entirely sourced from, produced and based in North Carolina. Patrick Read Johnson, a nationally-known film director and North Carolina School of the Arts professor, led the project, with participation from graduates and current students of the School of the Arts.

“Working on the Talk It Out campaign has been a rewarding experience,” said Patrick Read Johnson. “I’m grateful to have the opportunity to work on a project that is truly making an impact across the state, and mentor aspiring filmmakers in the process.”

Each phase of this campaign has been guided by original research. Phases I and II focused on raising awareness of the underage drinking problem. Phase III aimed to further close this awareness gap by focusing on the toll alcohol can take on children’s developing brains.

To view the Phase IV ads, click here. Visit to access new parent resources and learn more about the Talk It Out campaign.