5 Steps to Conducting a Brown Bag Campaign

Whether for Alcohol Awareness Month, Red Ribbon Week or a truly any time of year, a Brown Bag Campaign is a great project to help prevent underage drinking.

This campaign involves distributing brown bags to the community with a message in English and Spanish, reminding customers that it is illegal to purchase alcohol for minors and the consequences if they do. The goal is that these messages will increase public awareness and reduce the retail and social availability of alcohol to teens and underage young adults.

Below are the steps we have taken to conduct our Brown Bag campaigns, and others may implement a similar campaign in their local communities to reduce and prevent underage drinking and raise alcohol awareness!

Step 1:  Develop a warning message

GUIDE developed a warning sticker highlighting the fact that providing alcohol to minors is illegal and the penalties for doing so in Gwinnett County. We then collaborated with local partners to translate the warning sticker to Spanish to assure that we are providing the message to our very diverse community.

Step 2:  Encourage local participation

We visited each of the four liquor stores in the City of Lilburn to discuss their participation.  The visits were made two months prior to the campaign. We talked to the store managers about our campaign, showing them what we would provide free of charge and asked if they would be interested in being a part of April’s Alcohol Awareness campaign.  We asked them about the type and size of brown bag they most commonly provide to their customers and how many they use during a month, so that we could plan our order for the bags.

Step 3:  Order materials

Because we already had the warning stickers from our Sticker Shock campaign, we did not need to order more.  We did, however, take inventory of the number of stickers we had, so we would know if we had enough for the number of bags we planned to purchase for the campaign. Once we received feedback from the liquor store managers and discussed our plan for the campaign with our Alcohol Prevention Project committee, we decided that each store would receive 2,500 brown bags to use during the month of April.

This will provide our information to the majority of their customers as they purchase their alcohol product and receive it in a bag with our warning message. We also hope to have a stronger impact on repeat customers during the month, since they will see the messages more than once. We researched where to purchase the bags both online and by asking the liquor stores. Once we found the right size, quality and price, we ordered 10,000 bags.

Step 4:  Utilize volunteers

We reached out to our local partners, board members, committee members and others for their assistance. Several adult and youth volunteers helped apply English and Spanish stickers to each bag and put together packets to deliver to each store. In order to keep track of the number of bags completed, we had a thermometer showing where we were in relation to our 10,000 bag goal. It allowed us to update our volunteers during the month prior to the campaign
and celebrate as we grew closer to our goal.

Step 5:  Distribute bags to the liquor stores

We contacted each liquor store to arrange delivery and asked their preference of how they would like to receive the bags.  They were all very flexible.  A week before the start of the campaign, we loaded up a minivan and distributed 2,500 bags to each store.



If you would like to conduct your own Brown Bag campaign, don’t forget to start planning several months in advance!

For more information about the Brown Bag campaign, please contact Michael Davis at michael@guideinc.org.

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