Daily Mail

‘Drink less’ campaign... by booze PR firm

- By Sophie Borland Health Correspond­ent

THE country’s official Dry January campaign is being run by a PR firm that receives millions from the drinks industry.

Freuds is being paid thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money to market the drive urging drinkers to give up alcohol next month to give their livers a rest after Christmas.

But the firm also oversees advertisin­g for Diageo, the drinks giant behind brands including Guinness, Baileys and Smirnoff vodka. Freuds also runs PR for the Government’s anti-obesity drive Change4Lif­e – while doing advertisin­g for Mars, KFC and Pepsi.

Public Health England, the quango responsibl­e, would not say how much it had paid the firm for either campaign. But accounts show the total is about £90,000 a month, just over £1million a year. Katherine Brown, of the Institute of Alcohol Studies, said: ‘Relying on organisati­ons who receive funds from alcohol companies to offer up advice on how to reduce drinking is like putting a fox in charge of a henhouse.’

Public Health England said it worked closely with Freuds to ‘maximise numbers signing up to abstain from drinking for a month’, and retained ‘complete control’.

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