City of balen

Project Type

Motion, Film Production


Happiness Brussels


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.

This website uses cookies that are necessary to ensure you get the best experience on this website and to obtain the information that is indicated in our cookie statement. If you would like to know more or would like to withdraw your permission for the use of some or all cookies on this website, please consult our cookie statement. By clicking on “ACCEPT”, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

Strictly necessary cookies are necessary for you to visit and use a website. Without these cookies, the functions of the website cannot be guaranteed or maintained, even when you navigate between different pages.
Functional cookies enable a website to store data already entered and to offer the user improved, more personal functions. Functional cookies are also used to enable requested functions such as video playback. These cookies collect anonymous information, they do not track your movements on other websites.
Performance cookies collect information about how a website is used - for example, which pages a visitor visits most often and whether they receive error messages from websites. These cookies do not store information that can identify the user. The information collected is used for reports in aggregated and anonymous form. These cookies are only used to improve the performance of a website and thus the user experience.
Social media cookies are used to enable the integration of social networking sites on our websites. Our online services may contain embedded elements from third parties. This may include content that is stored with another party but that is on, in or through our online services. Furthermore, content may be shared by buttons via social networking sites on our online services. Examples of those social media are Facebook, Google+, YouTube, LinkedIn and Twitter. Those third parties may place cookies through our online services to collect data. These cookies may also be used for commercial purposes. We ourselves have no influence on what those social media do with their cookies. For more information about these cookies, we would like to refer you to the statements that third parties give on their own websites. Please note that these statements can be made regularly modify.