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Beer brand courts young drinkers with awareness campaign

By Zhang Lei | China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-28 10:05
"Smart Drinking, No Drink& Drive" campaign on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Just before China's annual "9/9 National Philanthropy Day", international booze conglomerate, AB InBev celebrated the latest iteration of its "Smart Drinking, No Drink & Drive" campaign with a major gala on the banks of Shanghai's Huangpu River.

The drinks company took advantage of the philanthropic gathering to release its latest public-awareness animation, a hip-hop composition titled Never Drink and Drive, which was coproduced with the Forbidden City and stars Harbin Beer's Generation Z virtual mascot, Hajiang, as well as the brand's first nonalcoholic beer (NAB). The film seeks to address the country's fast-changing social landscape in which more young people are taking to the roads after enjoying a drink.

Described as a "multicultural hybrid", which mixes computer graphics and hip-hop with palace and period dramas, the film centers around Hajiang, with a thought-provoking plot constructed to appeal to China's rising Generation Z consumers.

In the story, Hajiang travels back in time and becomes a royal driver, where she guides the emperor using lessons learned by three of China's most famous historical figures from the once-glorious Tang Dynasty (618-907) who were undone by too much booze.

Legendary poet Li Bai, the always-gracious concubine Yang Yuhuan and high-ranking official He Zhizhang, all embarrassed themselves when over indulgence turned into social disaster. By revisiting these court-based calamities, Hajiang presents a lively lesson which makes the emperor agree to "never drink and drive", preventing a potential royal accident in the process. The plot has also been given a practical boost from the Shanghai Traffic Police, which send one of its top officers to co-star in the video, joining Hajiang in saving the emperor from drunken disaster and helping deliver the campaign's message with a humorous, yet official tone.

Frank Wang, vice-president of legal and corporate affairs at AB InBev APAC, said: "By retelling these stories, we want to illustrate that drunken driving can do more than just harm one's reputation, but can jeopardize one's life and that of others as well."

The company's new nonalcoholic beer also enjoys a star turn in the animated film, enriching the time-travel plot with a modern-day touch. Harbin NAB serves as not only Hajiang's safe, but indulgent solution to the emperor's thirst, but also as a call-to-action from AB InBev to its Gen Z customers to make smarter choices before getting behind the wheel.

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