Inspiring a Change In Our Relationship With Alcohol

May 21, 2019 | Digital Marketing, Industry Analysis, Mental Health & Well Being | 0 comments

For those of you that know YesMore Agency, you’ll know that we’re an alcohol marketing agency. What many people don’t (yet) know is that one of the key reasons we specialised in alcohol marketing was to use our expertise and experience to, ultimately, drive a cultural shift in our society’s relationship with drinking alcohol for the wrong reasons.

Here at YesMore, we’re on a mission to inspire a positive change in our society’s relationship with alcohol. 

It’s a topic close to our hearts, and it’s our belief that much of the drinks industry and marketing industry could be doing more to understand how poor mental health and alcohol are linked.

For example, it’s not uncommon for people to make mental links between, say, a bad day at work and unwinding with a drink, or to drink wine and eat chocolate after a breakup, when lonely, stressed, or depressed even.

So for Mental Health Awareness Week 2019, YesMore partnered with Campfire Collaborative Co-Working Spaces (where our London office is based) to host an evening of talks and industry debate about alcohol and mental health:

Could better alcohol marketing inspire a positive change in society’s relationship with alcohol by refocusing our thinking around mental health?

Co-Founder & New Client Director of YesMore Agency, Tom Harvey, opening up the evening of talks and panel debate during Mental Health Awareness Week. Image by Ed Brown, YesMore Agency.

No mean feat. So we pulled together some of the industry’s leading minds to share some of their own expertise, and this is what they had to say:

Speakers: Creators of The World Record Egg on Instagram – Alissa Khan-Wheelan, Chris Godfrey and CJ Brown.

If you haven’t heard of The World Record Egg, I can only assume you’ve been living in an Instagram-less hole far away from the internet. Why? Because 5 BILLION (yes, really) others knew about it earlier this year.

“We got 53 million likes in the first 10 days”

CJ Brown (left) and Alissa Khan-Wheelan (right), two of the three people behind The World Record Egg on Instagram, presenting at YesMore Agency, London.

Go check out @World_Record_Egg on Instagram, it’s currently the Internet’s most viral thing in its history and currently holds the record for the most liked image on Instagram (53 million likes) after 3 social-savvy Londoners got together to try to beat the previous record (18 million likes) held by Kylie Jenner.

“It increased traffic to mental health charities by 142,000% and they’re still getting donations from it each day which is really incredible”

Not only did they smash the record, but they used their newfound global influence as a force for good: improving mental health.

“1/3rd of students interviewed said they’d made decisions to drink less because of how it affected their mental health”

Paul Stollery of Hype Collective, student marketing agency, presenting key findings from a YesMore Agency partnership study into youth attitudes towards alcohol and mental health.

Paul pulled out sections and stats from our report findings, including fascinating insight around the age-old stigma of having to hold a drink in your hand on a night out with friends. In short: students don’t have the same stigma that many of us have grown up with.

We’re planning to release the report in a few weeks time, so unfortunately if you weren’t in the room you’ll have to wait until we release the report. Send me an email here if you want to be amongst the first to see it.

Our very own Emma Hancock took to the stage to introduce her own podcast, Fruit Loops, due to launch in the coming weeks.

She shared how we as a society often refer to mental health as an illness, but in actual fact it’s like any other form of physical health – and so it fluctuates for everyone. We can be mentally healthy one week, but then not another.

Emma Hancock, Account Manager at YesMore Agency and creator of the Fruit Loops Podcast – presenting why she’s starting this movement.
After a short loo and top-up break, we dived into what can only be described as an EYE OPENING panel debate to explore whether alcohol marketing could have an influence on our society’s relationship with drinking alcohol. Panelists included:

“The egg has challenged brands to talk about mental health, because they want to be associated with us and they can only do so if they align with our mission to improve mental health.”

Alissa Khan-Wheelan, co-creator of @World_Record_Egg

“We’ve found evidence to show that students are no longer peer pressured to drink alcohol on a night out (except for those in sporting teams)”

Paul Stollery, Co-Founder of Hype Collective

“We’re a zero proof spirit, but we’ll never target under 18s as we don’t want to encourage kids to move onto drinking alcohol”

Alex Carlton, CEO & Founder of STRYYK zero proof spirit & Funkin Cocktails

“It’s about making alcohol free drinks aspirational in themselves, rather than simply being the non-alcohol version of another brand”

Luke Boase, CEO & Founder of Lucky Saint 0.5% beer

“There is a place for humour and hijacking when it comes to alcohol marketing, but  towing the line is challenging. It’s worth sense checking, because sometimes running away with an idea can get you in trouble.”

Amy Powell, Client Relationship Manager at PromoVeritas – Promotional Marketing Compliance Consultancy
Overall the night was clearly the very beginning of a topic that sparked both massive interest and much debate. We ran slightly over, with everyone in the room captivated in the conversation – each wanting to ask more. So it’s clear there’s much more to do in both the marketing and the drinks industry to pay closer attention to mental health when it comes to the marketing of alcohol. We’re seeing the likes of Diageo with their Guinness Clear ads, and Heineken with their I need a hero ads, taking steps towards changing our relationship with alcohol and removing the stigma of not drinking – but is there more we can do on a grass roots level? We all agreed that further education, awareness and general consciousness of metal health amongst the industry is valuable, and that we as brands and marketers should challenge the societal norms set before us.

Finally, a massive thank you to our partners for the evening:

Aperol Spritz, YesMore Agency client
STRYYK’s Zero Proof Spirit
Lucky Saint’s 0.5% ABV beer
Campfire Collaborative Co-Working Spaces, where YesMore London is based

Hope you enjoyed the article. You can find out more about the author below or for more good reads, interviews and news from the wonderful world of alcohol, you can sign up for our monthly ‘Top 5 Alcohol Marketing Stories‘ newsletter, follow YesMore Agency on Linkedin, or click through to other articles we’ve written in our related posts section.

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Hayley Spencer

Hayley Spencer


Hayley is a content editor with nearly 15 years' digital-first experience. She has worked in both editorial and digital marketing for magazines and national newspapers, as well as global and emerging lifestyle brands. She has experience launching up and coming brands on social to smash ambitious KPIs, and in helping major players like IKEA and Net-a-Porter's PORTER to reach new heights with their digital marketing. Hayley started out at as a freelancer at YesMore and now works across client services and creative. She has a breadth of experience in copywriting and editing, bolstered by her work as a journalist and passion for the written word. Hayley lives in East London, spending her working days with her rescue Yorkie, Albie, thanks to YesMore's flexible working policies. She is committed to helping to forward YM's mental health strategies, having recently completed the Wellbeing Champions course. To get in touch with Hayley email Her drink of choice is a chilled glass of Picpoul or an Espresso Martini, with vanilla in it... stunning!

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