A Campaign Worth Talking About: The Big Alcohol Conversation

As The Big Alcohol Conversation draws to a close, we investigate the components that made for a campaign that got Greater Manchester talking.

As The Big Alcohol Conversation draws to a close, we investigate the components that made for a campaign that got Greater Manchester talking. A public awareness campaign which focuses on engagement to initiate discussion around the role of alcohol and its harms in the ten boroughs that make up Greater Manchester, The Big Alcohol Conversation incorporated both media and digital services to instigate change in the county that we call home. One of the main aims of the campaign is to encourage the public to have their say on key issues relating to alcohol and their community via the survey features on their website. Through unanimous answers, GMCA hope to drive forward change with the support of the community behind them.


We received an invitation to tender for a campaign in Greater Manchester, commissioned by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. They were looking for an agency that had the skillset and passion to put together a multi formatted campaign that targeted the issue of alcohol harm in Greater Manchester. The campaign needed to be informative, non-judgemental, hard hitting and familiar. It needed to instil a sense of urgency in the general public, but also to incentivise personal reflection. The invitation was centred on the idea of a ‘Big Alcohol Conversation’, asking people in Greater Manchester to look inwardly to determine whether their own alcohol intake was healthy, and whether they thought that there was an issue in their area.


Through an integral understanding and finely researched psychological synopsis, the digital team came together to develop the given personas, and anticipate what would drive these users throughout the website. By starting with ‘the people’, we created a website for the people. The website is littered with thought-provoking stats, which aim to stimulate conversation and encourage the desired mind set to bring about an overall ambition for change.


For the GMCA Google PPC campaign we ran display ads to increase awareness of the various bus tours going on within the area. Using display ads helped maximise awareness for events like this as the ads can appear on popular sites like YouTube, Daily Mail and Android apps. We also ran generic ads, for which we used audience targeting to target the right group of people to show the impact alcohol has on people and the city of Manchester.

Alongside these ads we also ran YouTube and search ads, which helped spread the word about The Big Alcohol Conversation to a whole new audience. The ongoing management for these campaigns was to make sure the ads were being well received with the audience, one way of measuring this was to keep an eye on the increase of clicks on the ads or if people were watching the YouTube ads to the end.

For the Facebook campaigns we ran various ads mainly highlighting the effects of alcohol and the impact it has on Manchester. We also ran a like campaign to help increase the page likes for The Big Alcohol Conversation Facebook page.

Social Media

We utilised social media platforms Facebook and Twitter to identify and engage with the ideal audience for The Big Alcohol Conversation. With a view to the audience suggested in the brief, we targeted high earners, typically aged between 35 and 65, and curated engaging and informative posts that instigated conversation, whilst providing the means for users to conduct their own research to help them to form an opinion about the key motif of the campaign.

By creating written and visual content that provided value by fact sharing, entertaining and providing a forum for discussion, we consistently contributed to the brand and built a base audience on our social channels.


For this project, we ensured that the site was adequately optimised using best practice. This involved improving site speed, sitemap configuration, internal linking and further technical undertakings. We also did keyword meta data optimisation and keyword research, which further facilitated the creation of unique, relevant and targeted website content. This content was done in regular conversation with the client, as we honed the perfect balance of accuracy, audience and tone of voice. Other content work included the rewriting and editing of industry specific news stories, personal accounts, and pay-per-click ads. All of these also required consideration of the target audience, sector and the agreed upon brand tone.

The Big Alcohol Conversation is a great example of how we integrate many of our services, across both digital and media. Driving the creative direction allowed for contingency across the tone of voice on the website which followed through onto social media. It was a pleasure to watch the campaign materialising across greater Manchester, on billboards and busses, digitally through viral posts, and experientially through an exceptional launch event and two successful bus tours.

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