IkPas behind the scenes: in conversation with campaign manager Martijn Planken

Martijn Planken has been involved from the start in the rigging of I pass. An initiative born out of sheer necessity, he says. Because alcohol is a sneaky culprit. A culprit, who, thanks to the dominant position of the alcohol industry, is given all the space to showcase himself. Banning alcohol is not the solution; to curb.

Together with research leader Rob Bovens, Martijn Planken worked on the national alcohol information campaign: 'Drink destroys more than you like'. After the maximum elaboration of these confrontational commercials, the theme of alcohol and the associated problems remained silent. Until in 2014 a number of regional initiatives were topped with a national sauce and IkPas was born. “We felt that this was our chance to start a new movement,” explains Martijn. “The first years we did everything in the evenings. Rob researched, compared and analyzed the experiences of participants, converting our gut feeling into hard facts and figures. People benefited – and benefit from – from temporarily suspending their alcohol consumption.”

Alcohol must disappear from the podium

We know that drinking alcohol is not good for you. How come we do it anyway en masse keep doing? Martijn: “Everyone knows that smoking is addictive. And that it can kill you. The experience with alcohol is different. more nuanced. We are all more like: 'one should be possible, right?'. We downplay it. In addition, the alcohol industry is supreme. How is it possible that the cause of much misery is sitting at the consultation table when measures and restrictions regarding alcohol are discussed? Because alcohol is still associated with conviviality, because the alcohol industry creates employment and because we enjoy international prestige due to the major well-known brands from Dutch soil. The alcohol industry is on the podium and that is badly misplaced.”

No prohibition, but restrictions

In order to give alcohol a new and more modest place in our society, according to Martijn, the following has to happen: “Dragmatically raise the price of alcohol products. We have seen that this works with smoking products. Impose a marketing ban so that the alcohol industry cannot advertise their alcohol products in any way. In addition, you have to curtail availability. Again alcohol from the supermarkets, for example. If this were to happen, we would have come a long way.”

Fitting always makes sense

Because drinking alcohol is still –almost- always and –almost- everywhere possible, we have to be very conscious about our alcohol consumption. “That's why IkPas is nice and necessary”, emphasizes Martijn. “Everyone who drinks alcohol should check their alcohol intake once in a while. And that is happening more and more. We see this not only in the number of participants, that is a movement that has been noticeable for several years now. Taking care of your health is a trend. In the past, health was the absence of disease, now the belief is that you can control your own health more. And IkPas fits in very well with that. For me, a successful IkPas experience is a period in which you have had one or more learning moments. That you get to know yourself better, that you know what your triggers are, why you drink, what place you want to give alcohol in your life: awareness, in whatever area. I wish that for everyone.”

Have you already experienced a learning moment?

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