BLIND drunk and slumped on a table – how would you feel if this was your daughter?
This image of a girl face down, surrounded by empty glasses, was on an advert sent to one 18-year-old’s Facebook account by Sunderland’s Liquid nightclub.
It promotes “free drinks for one hour,” and was accompanied by phrases such as “get smashed”, “get mortal” and “free shots”.
The angry dad of the teenager who received the online flyer contacted the Echo to highlight the campaign.
“I don’t want these people encouraging my daughter or anyone else’s into ‘getting smashed’,” he said.
Balance, the North East’s Alcohol Office, which encourages people to cut back on drink, condemned the flyer.
“This is a perfect example of the alcohol industry’s irresponsible use of low-price promotion to encourage young people to misuse alcohol,” said director Colin Shevills.
“This will endanger their health and safety and is done in order to make a profit. This irresponsible promotion glamorises getting drunk, suggesting that being slumped at a table surrounded by empty shot glasses is something to aspire to.
“By offering free shots, cheap drinks and ‘sexy hosts’ it aims to lure young people in and get them to consume as much alcohol as possible within a short period of time.
“This leaves them intoxicated and vulnerable in the early hours, when the majority of violent assaults take place.”
Liquid, in Green Terrace, is owned by Luminar Entertainment, which admitted the advert was not appropriate and said it had been distributed in error.
A spokesman said: “The Liquid in Sunderland was working with a private promoter for the event in question.
“As a responsible late operator, the contract Luminar puts in place when it works with a promoter includes having approval of all promotional material and literature
“This is to ensure it meets with the relevant legislation and Luminar’s high standards.
“In this instance, the promotional material wasn’t shown to Luminar and it contained terminology that wasn’t appropriate.
“Any material in existence will be removed with immediate effect and Liquid Sunderland will not be working with this promoter again.”
Luminar, which was criticised in 2008 over cheap booze promotions at Liquid and Diva, produced a social responsibility report in 2009 where they themselves highlighted the problem of binge drinking.
It said: “We recognise that alcohol misuse and binge drinking are important issues not just for our industry, but also for society at large, as it threatens to compromise the well-being of our customers.”
Northumbria Police neighbourhood Inspector Neal Craig said: “We work very closely with licensed premises across the city centre to make it an even safer place to enjoy at night. “We know the majority are well-managed and comply with the conditions of their licence but for the small minority that aren’t and do breach their conditions, we won’t hesitate to take action.”
Research by Balance shows that 49 per cent of 18 to 24-year-olds in the North East drink to get drunk.
Mr Shevills said: “Realistically, we understand that some young people will sometimes go out with the express intention of getting drunk.
“However, it is important that the alcohol industry does not encourage or enable this behaviour.
“If we don’t clamp down on promotions like these, we will never solve our region’s problems with alcohol.
“We already have the highest levels of alcohol related hospital admissions in England – we certainly don’t need this.”