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Friday, June 21, 2024

New mobile advertisements about excessive drinking are not warning students about liver disease.

Instead, the ads focus on social humiliation.

A truck with revolving, lighted billboards featuring three ads has been driving around downtown Gainesville, sending a message to students while they're out at bars and clubs.

One ad reads, "Drinking too much may disappoint you and your partner … Excessive alcohol consumption can cause impotence."

The ads are part of a campaign produced by a UF grant team to reduce excessive drinking in students. The nearly $300,000 grant was awarded in the summer of 2006 from the U.S. Department of Education, said Tavis Glassman, project director for the grant team and coordinator of UF's Campus Alcohol and Drug Resource Center.

This is the first semester the ads have been placed on the truck, a vehicle provided by MiAdz, a mobile advertising company.

The truck drives approximately 40 hours a week, said Jordan Fennell, MiAdz owner and UF student. Fennell provides the service for free.

The ads were designed by students, for students, Glassman said. The grant team did a year of research and found students were more motivated by the social ramifications of excess drinking than the physical ones. As a result, the ads focus on embarrassing social situations many students are familiar with, Glassman said.

One ad says, "Don't be that girl! Consuming fewer drinks may reduce your risk of embarrassment." It features a picture of a woman seemingly sick from excessive drinking.

Sarah Hauser, a UF health science student, said the ad caught her attention.

"I laughed and thought of how many girls I would see in the bar bathroom that night," Hauser said. "They need to see the ad."

Glassman said alcohol-education ads can be difficult to market because of resistance and resentment from students.

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"The ads don't say 'Don't drink.' They say if you drink too much, this is what's going to happen to you," he said.

Glassman hopes the truck will allow the anti-risk drinking messages to reach students when they need it most this semester.

"This truck can go wherever the action is," he said.

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