Drinks company slammed for handing out free alcohol to student blood donorsStudents given cases of shandy outside temporary blood bank
“Inappropriate general health message conveyed through this promotion”Campaign has now been terminated
A drinks company has been slammed for handing out free alcohol to teenage blood donors.
Photographs posted via Facebook showed students being given cases of Turbo shandy as they queued at a temporary blood bank outside a church in Leeds, West Yorkshire.
Promotional materials released in the run up to the event read: ‘Donate blood this week in Leeds and claim your FREE Drink from Turbo’s Promo Team’.
Photographs posted via Facebook show students being given cases of Turboshandy as they queued at a temporary blood bank outside a church in Leeds
Participants signed up online before they arrived and groups were rewarded with helpings of the four per cent lemonade and lager beverage, which comes in a distinctive 330ml black bottle stamped with a neon green “t”.
The controversial campaign comes as a report from the Department of Health published this year, highlighted a substantial rise in under-30s dying from alcohol abuse over the past decade.
Turbo is a four per cent bottled lager drink
It showed the North East has been particularly hit, with figures showing a 400 per cent increase in the number of hospital admissions for people suffering from alcoholic liver disease.
The NHS Blood and Transplant department is now calling for an explanation from the drinks company whichhas reportedly received backing from celebrities including N-Dubz band members, and X Factor winner Matt Cardle. It has also had products featured on TV programmes such as Geordie Shore.
A spokesperson from the health authority said: “Donating blood is a completely altruistic act and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) does not welcome or condone this sort of promotional activity in association with the generous act of donation.
“There is also an inappropriate general health message conveyed through this promotion.
“NHSBT apologises for any offence caused by this promotion and will be contacting the company in question to discuss the matter.”
Before giving blood, donors are advised not to drink alcohol for 24 hours as it can “considerably affect hydration and delay recovery”.
Local residents have also slammed the manufacturer for encouraging binge drinking in Leeds which has one of the country’s largest youth populations.
Publicity for the event was drummed up on popular social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook
The company’s black branded Turbo vans have been spotted on several occasions in the city’s densely populatedstudent areas of Hyde Park and Headingley.
A commentator who wished to remain unnamed, said: “Targeting young people with alcohol sales is never a good idea and they are never going to tone it down are they
“But to do it in this way is despicable especially when you hear in the news about more and more young people dying as a result of alcohol abuse.
“This is only encouraging students to drink more and we get enough trouble with drunk young people.
“It is in sick taste targeting youngsters with the drink as a promotion vehicle. The NHS is not there to be abused for some cheap publicity.”
Controversial marketing materials were created to attract students to the event
Publicity for the event was drummed up on popular social networking sites including Twitter and Facebook with one post on November 24 reading: “Do something good and we’ll reward you!
“If you’re in LEEDS on FRIDAY 25th November head down to Armley Methodists Church from 2.30pm and GIVE BLOOD!
While a tweet read: “No more messy mixing it yourself….but you still have a messy night out!”
Last night, Turbo Drinks company spokesman Nigel Tarn, who has previously worked on the launches of Red Bull, Peroni and Crabbie”s Alcoholic Ginger beer, admitted the promotion had been a huge error of judgement.
He said: “We employ numerous freelance staff and require them to create their own promotions.
“One of them naively thought that by doing the promotion they would be highlighting the shortage of blood andensuring new donors.
“We now recognize this to have been in poor taste and have terminated the campaign.”
A government report found alcohol-related hospital admissions have doubled in a decade, with over one million patients admitted in 2010.
Consultants have warned that Britain is facing an epidemic of liver disease caused by a binge drinking culture fueled by low prices.
In response Professor Sir Ian Gilmorechair of the UK Alcohol Health Alliance, which campaigns to increase alcohol awareness told the BBC.
“It”s very difficult to know why our culture has changed so radically, but all the evidence suggests that the big drivers for the amount people drink are the price, the availability and the marketing and that is what we have been trying to push governments to look at.”