Proxy Purchase Campaign

The Scotch Whisky Association
United Kingdom
2017 > Ongoing
#AwarenessRaising #Offtrade #ProxyPurchase


To raise awareness that proxy purchasing is a criminal offence which carries a fine of up to £5,000 or three months imprisonment - or both.

To contribute towards less crime and less antisoocal behaviour in the campaign area.


The campaign was created by the Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership in collaboration with Police Scotland, North Lanarkshire Council and the Scottish Government.  This coalition of partners worked together to design and deploy a creative campaign to assist retailers eliminate incidences of an adult knowingly purchasing alcohol for a minor to consume.  

Campaign packs were developed containing promotional resources and marketing support to explain the initiative and to create awareness in-store.  Using an eye-catching 3D graphic treatment on floor vinyls and washable street graffiti, the campaign message (and the penalty for offending) is clear to a wide audience.  Multiple media channels are used deliver the message including social media and town-centre activities.  

Packs are delivered by Trading, Police officers, and Licensing Standards teams, which facilitate retailer buy-in, enabling them to ask questions and discuss any concerns they may have.  Retailers are engaged and integral to the delivery of the campaign. 

Following the success of two pilot projects in 2015 and 2016 in relatively small areas the campaign began to be rolled out in larger areas.  In 2017, it was rolled out over in the North Lanarkshire region of Scotland.  In 2018, it ran in several local areas, typically led by Police Scotland: parts of Glasgow, East Dunbartonshire, Fife, Aberdeen and Moray.  In February 2018 SAIP, Police Scotland and North Lanarkshire Council held an event in Motherwell the aim of which was to share the learning gained from delivering this campaign and its impact and to launch the ‘You’re Asking For It’ website as a tool to support other areas to roll out the campaign.  A key message to the conference participants was the success of the campaign was very much based on partnership working.

In 2019, the campaign ran in several local areas: 

  • South Lanarkshire: Launched on 17th April; campaign materials were distributed to all off sales, as well as leisure centres, libraries, schools and health centres. Licensing Officers also visited all off sales in the campaign areas. Police Scotland promoted the campaign through local social media, at all high schools in East Kilbride / Strathaven and with retailers as well as at events in the campaign area.  It was advertised on public transport, digital billboards, pavement stencilling and local media.    Police also patrolled ‘hot spot’ areas.
  • Glasgow & Wider Area: This was Police Scotland led and covered Glasgow City, East Renfrewshire and East Dunbartonshire. Campaign materials were displayed within retailers, pop up banners and vinyl banners were used at community events/prominent locations etc.  The message was displayed across 33 buses for 6-8 weeks.  Digital displays were also purchased on the underground.  The campaign messages were promoted through the local media and information fed into schools. 
  • Inverclyde & Renfrewshire: Launched at the end of August 2019 during University Fresher’s Week and continued until the end of the Festive Period in January 2020. The campaign focussed on the following areas.
    • Education of off sales, licensed premises and national retailers. Education of students in partnership with University of West Scotland, West College Scotland.
    • Targeted patrols of areas associated with anti-social behaviour in partnership with Renfrewshire and Inverclyde Council.
    • Education to school pupils and targeted activity for forthcoming school holidays.
    • Youth diversionary activity with St Mirren and Morton Football Clubs.
    • Campaign advertised within the Renfrewshire Safer Communities Partnership ‘Your Home Your Street Our Community’ campaign launched in September 2019 in Paisley Town Centre and at Braehead Shopping Centre.

In 2020, we planned to roll out the campaign nationally inconjunction with Police Scotland. Hovever, due to COVID19 the campaign was put on hold. In 2021 we ran the campaign on a limited basis under the 'Don't Ask For It' banner across Police Scotland divisions. We produced and disseminated 1000 campaign packs and supported the camapign by taking out ads in local newspapers.

In 2022 the campiagn was refreshed based on consumer research and relaunched it under the new strapline 'It'll Cost You'. The campaign was launched nationally across Scotland for the first time. The campaign website was updated

A new video was added. Other key developments were a paid for social media campaign, the use of radio ads on commercial stations and played instore. Plus the support of Police Scotland Youth Volunteers who supported the campaign through direct consumer interaction and the placement of pavement stencils.


The Scottish Alcohol Industry Partnership

Police Scotland

Community Alcohol Partnerships



In 2017, Campaign packs were delivered to 302 retail outlets and there were 32 detections of proxy purchasing.

In 2018, the Motherwell event was attended by over 100 professionals from Police Scotland, local authorities and the industry.   During the 2018 school summer holiday period, Glasgow South East reported 354 incidents involving youths and alcohol compared to 610 incidents during the same period in 2017.   Glasgow North reported 454 incidents involving youths and alcohol compared to 474 incidents during the same period of 2017.  Glasgow North West reported 493 incidents involving youths and alcohol compared to 984 incidents during the previous same period in 2017. 

In 2019, in the Glasgow & Wider Area there was an overall 29.4% reduction in calls involving youths and alcohol compared with 2018.  

In 2022, for those that recalled seeing the campaign 48% correctly identified the full legal consequences of doing so which is an improvement on the pre-campaign survey where only 31% of respondents were aware.

Social media results: Impressions - 11.1 million (No. of times your content is displayed no matter if it’s clicked on or not). Reach - 1.5 million (Total no. of people that will see your content).

Radio ad: The radio ad played on local radio achieved the following results:
Number of times the ad was played 401 Reach (the number of different people that heard the ad) 2, 164,096
Impacts 7,575,058
Opportunities to hear (how many times a listener is likely to hear an ad) 3.58

The radio ad was also played in a total of 582 stores across Scotland.

Measurement & evaluation

Evaluation reports are available on the website. The 2022 evaluation report is attached.




Photo gallery



It will Cost You Campaign Evaluation Report - December 2022 FINAL.pdf (pdf - 1.83 Mo)