LessThanUThink sheds light on binge-drinking

Ashanka Kumari

You might say it takes less than you think to create a campaign and receive 32 awards to prove its success, but the University of Alabama advertising and public relations students may beg to differ, according to a press release.

LessThanUThink is a student-generated communications campaign designed to address the nationwide problem of college-age binge-drinking, according to Teri K. Henley, an advertising and public relations instructor and group adviser.

“Students produced communications materials, special events and used social media to engage students in the discussion about binge-drinking,” Henley said.

This fall, eight students worked on a plan for spring break implementation, and in the spring semester another set of students will carry out the implementation, Henley said.

“In order to get credit for working on this project as a class, students must get the permission of their instructor and can earn either APR class credit for the Public Relations or Advertising Capstone course,” Henley said. “Other students who are interested in being involved can volunteer to help. We are particularly in need of students with experience in graphic design or web construction.”

The second phase of LTUT began in August with the Fall 2011 campaigns class, which is working on the first two steps of the four-step process of a campaign—research, planning, implementation and evaluation, said Emily Diab, PRSSA president and LTUT campaign media relations coordinator.

“The eight students in the class have been researching and planning in order to successfully hand the campaign over to the Spring 2012 class, which will complete the implementation and evaluation steps,” Diab said. “The final campaign implementation will take place before and during spring break 2012.”

Created in 2009 by 16 students, the campaign has been selected by The Century Council, a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting responsible decision-making regarding alcoholic beverages, according to the press release. The Century Council first awarded the University of Alabama’s College of Communications and Information Sciences a $75,000 grant to implement the campaign nationally in 2010, Diab said. After its initial success, The Century Council and the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association granted a second award of $110,000 for the second phase of LTUT for Spring Break 2012.

LTUT has received numerous awards on the local, regional and national level including the 2011 Public Relations Society of America Silver Anvil Award of Excellence (professional level), 2010 American Advertising Federation Gold Addy Awards and the 2010 Public Relations Council of Alabama Student Medallion Awards, Diab said. “LTUT takes a different approach to reaching college-aged students,” Diab said. “Research has shown that using ‘scare tactics’ to persuade an audience is not effective. So, instead of using scare tactics, LTUT sheds light on the social consequences of binge drinking through media. People like to see real world situations they can relate to. The posters are humorous and students have seen this stuff happen in real life.”

For more information on LTUT, visit lessthanuthink.org or follow LTUT on Twitter @LTUThink.