Alcohol and Health 'Spread'

Alcohol causes cancer. Reduce your drinking to reduce your risk.

The Alcohol.Think Again ‘Spread’ campaign was re-launched in October 2020 and is a joint initiative between the Mental Health Commission and Cancer Council Western Australia.

The ‘Spread’ campaign was initially developed in 2010 by the former Drug and Alcohol Office. Following its launch in Western Australia in 2010, the ‘Spread’ advertisement received international recognition for its ability to achieve behaviour change. An independent study in 2018 compared 83 alcohol education ads from around the world and found that ‘Spread’ was the ad most likely to motivate drinkers to reduce their alcohol use (Wakefield et al., 2018). 

The ‘Spread’ campaign aims to reduce alcohol use by increasing awareness of alcohol-caused cancer. The campaign focuses on the theme that alcohol causes cancer, including in the breast, liver, mouth, throat and bowel; and every drink increases a person’s risk of developing alcohol-caused cancer.

The campaign is consistent with evidence that alcohol can cause cancer in at least seven sites of the body (Pandeya et al., 2015), and the risk of developing alcohol-caused cancer increases with the amount and frequency of alcohol consumed (Winstanley et al., 2011; World Cancer Research Fund, 2018). Reducing drinking can reduce health risks from alcohol (National Health and Medical Research Council, 2009).

The campaign will be run state-wide until late 2021, with three key bursts of campaign activity. The media strategy will be led by TV, and supported by out-of-home advertising, digital, social and paid search.

Key messages

Alcohol causes cancer.

Reduce your drinking to reduce your risk.

Target group

Adults aged 25 to 54 years.

Campaign objectives

  • Increase awareness and belief among the target audience that alcohol causes cancer and other diseases.
  • Increase the proportion of the target audience who consider it worthwhile to reduce their drinking to reduce the risk of alcohol-caused cancer and other diseases.
  • Increase the proportion of the target audience who are aware of ways to reduce their drinking.
  • Increase the proportion of high-risk* drinkers who take some action to reduce their drinking.

* High risk drinkers are defined as those who drink above the current National Health and Medical Research Council (2009) Australian Guidelines to Reduce Health Risks from Alcohol, for single occasion and lifetime harm.



National Health and Medical Research Council. (2009). Australian guidelines to reduce health risks from drinking alcohol. Commonwealth of Australia: Canberra, ACT.


Winstanley, M., Pratt, I., Chapman, K., Griffin, H., Croager, E., Olver, I., Sinclair, C., & Slevin,. T. (2011). Alcohol and cancer: a position statement from Cancer Council Australia. Medical Journal of Australia, 194(9), 479-482.


Pandeya, N., Wilson, L., Webb, P., Neale, R., Bain, C., & Whiteman, D. (2015). Cancers in Australia in 2010 attributable to the consumption of alcohol. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 39(5), 408-413.


Wakefield, A., Brennan, E., Dunstone, K., Durkin, S., Dixon, H., Pettigrew, S., & Slater, D. (2018). Features of alcohol harm reduction advertisements that most motivate reduced drinking among adults: an advertisement response study. BMJ Open, 7.


World Cancer Research Fund. (2018). Alcoholic drinks: Alcoholic drinks and the risk of cancer. Retrieved from: (p.14)

Campaign Video
TV - 30 second

TV - 15 second

Campaign Video
Social - 6 second, Alcohol causes cancer

Social - 6 second, Seven sites of the body

Social - 6 second, Risk

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