City of balen
Pre-drinking (getting drunk prior to going out) is not a new problem. However, in Belgium the issue is huge: 80% of young people pre-drink. Mostly to avoid the high cost of drinking at venues. As a result, they drink massive amounts in a short amount of time, and 25% do it with heavy liquors. While research shows that pre-drinking leads to heavier drinking and an increased risk of addiction. In the city of Balen, just like in any other city, data showed that pre-drinking led to great nuisance, like fighting and vandalism. So, this small city in Belgium wanted to act and asked us to try something completely different in order to tackle the pre-drinking problem.
A universal idea for a (not so) local problem: what if we could fight the health problem of excessive pre-drinking by handing out free drinks. Wait, what? The Belgian City of Balen tried something unprecedented to fight pre-drinking: Sobercoins. An encouragement for young people to arrive at the party sober by rewarding them with... free drinks. A behavioural incentive that might feel contradictory at first, but research (source: National anti-addiction Institute Belgium) has proven that if young people don’t pre-drink, they end up drinking way less alcohol. How did it work? Young people can get breathalyzed (free choice) at the entrance doors of clubs. When negative, they are rewarded with a Sobercoin, a token for 3 complimentary drinks by the venue.