Being a student is more than drinking


Research has shown that nine out of ten students drink alcohol. Two-thirds of them drink fewer than ten glasses a week. Although these students sometimes knock back a few before an event or engage in binge drinking, those that consume over ten glasses a week are primarily the minority. However, it is this minority that determines the negative image in the media about students and alcohol. ‘Being a student’ is all too often reduced to excessive drinking and the accompanying inconvenience this causes.

Students talk about their experiences

Students from Brussels and Ghent took part and were given an active role in the project. They were asked to take photos to provide insight into their life as a student. The objective was to enter into the dialogue, to arrive at conclusions and thus overcome assumptions.

All of this resulted in a series of authentic stories, yielding a realistic picture about the use of alcohol among students because – of course – ‘being a student’ is, after all, so much more than drinking!

Not by pointing the finger

Under no circumstances could the campaign be patronising. That’s why it was crucial that genuine content is conveyed in a tone of voice that is geared toward the way in which students perceive their world. Therefore, we chose a channel of communication that we felt would be in line with this: Instagram.

View the Instagram page: Instagram page.


Campaign branding

The tone of voice was translated into a striking campaign branding: clear, no frills and sharp. One of the criteria was to develop a visual identity that is sustainable and can last several years. We therefore opted for flexible style characteristics and a palette of idiosyncratic colours.


The campaign was picked up by students and various media very quickly. We sought interaction through stories, posts and digital screens at schools and events. The students involved were able to independently set to work with the content. The context and the reason behind the campaign was brought together at www.studentzijnis.be.

As every new academic year produces a new generation of students in higher education our goal is to ensure that #studentzijnis is an ongoing, developing project. This will promote a clear focus on prevention and strengthening the network. This campaign has already laid a good foundation for much more. To be continued!

What we learned from it

Giving the user (the student) a decisive position was a conscious choice. This was not the most comfortable starting point for directing our campaign; it makes the outcome uncertain and requires a greater investment in terms of time. However, giving the users an active role created numerous benefits: they help determine the content and there is much more room for involvement. Numerous subtle layers were exposed, because every human being perceives his or her life in a unique way. This makes it interesting for both us and the students in terms of content.

Choosing an approach like this makes it impossible for us to deliver directly. This requires a certain mindset from the client, but we were always able to keep our goal in mind. This was our driving force!

< Damien Foundation