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U. of Minnesota exposes 'The Other Hangover'

Jenna Johnson

There's the physical hangover that comes after a crazy night out. And then there's what University of Minnesota undergrads call "The Other Hangover" -- embarrassing reputations, strained friendships and consequences of dumb decisions that linger even after Facebook photos have been de-tagged.

This semester, the Twin Cities campus has been plastered with posters, ads and sidewalk clings that urge students: "Don't over do it." There are also a Facebook page and a Twitter feed.


Plus, there's a billboard over one of the most popular student bars that shows a guy holding a pitcher of beer and putting his arm around a girl with the message: "Before you got wasted, you weren't known as 'The Creep.'"

The idea came from a group of advertising students who had to create a responsible-drinking campaign for a national competition last year. The students surveyed their peers, who reported that the threat of DUIs, alcohol poisoning, assault, jail time or death did not scare them enough to drink responsibly, said Nathan Gilkerson, a doctoral student who helps run the campaign.

"College students, as you might guess, consider themselves invincible," Gilkerson told me. "What they really care about is their reputation and their relationships with their friends."


This summer Gilkerson taught an internship course for eight undergrads, who came up with a plan for promoting the campaign on campus and through social media. They also explained the idea it to administrators and got approval. The campaign was funded with a $75,000 grant from The Century Council, an organization supported by the distilled spirits industry that seeks to reduce under-age drinking and drunk driving.

"It's a new approach. It's through the eyes of a college student," Gilkerson said. "It's not a coming-down-from-above initiative... Students think it's really edgy and honest and real."


You can see all of the ads and read about the campaign on the Web site You can read more about the campaign in a Minneapolis Star-Tribune article written by Jenna Ross, one of my favorite people on Twitter, @byJenna.


Images used with permission from The Other Hangover.

Campus Overload is a daily must-read for all college students. Make sure to bookmark You can also follow me on Twitter and fan Campus Overload on Facebook.

By Jenna Johnson  | September 21, 2010; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  News Overload  | Tags:  University of Minnesota  
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Looks great! It is interesting to see how other campaigns are going! At The University of Alabama, the LessThanUThink Campaign is trying to accomplish the same goals. Check out our progress at,, or on Twitter @LTUThink. I think it is fun to see how much the campaigns grow from the time of competition. This is such a great experience for students to be able to take a concept and make it real. Best of luck with your implementation!

Posted by: AmandaLane | September 22, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

This ad campaign is shameful and anti-happiness. The guy in the top picture is only a "creep" if the girl doesn't happen to be attracted to him. If she is, they go to his room, have sex--and a night they'll think about when they masturbate at age 80.

If they wake up together, they might have breakfast at the dining hall, discover they like each other, and do it again, and start dating.

And what's the big deal in the second pic, a girl sits on the floor at a dorm party? So what? The expression on her face? Perhaps she fell down after drinking too much. Is the implication that the other kids will disapprove of and reject her her for that... in a COLLEGE DORM?

The third is anti-happiness and goes against everything college about and the biological purpose of life itself. A girl taking off her shirt at a bar is a WONDERFUL thing and I only wish I had done that that instead of hiding in the computer building every saturday night.

Suppose she had sex with three guys on saturday, LOVED doing it, was engaged in her school work during the week, loved that too, and couldn't WAIT for saturday so she could have more sexy fun again. Oh--and she makes straight A's.

--> Where's the "bad"?

This isn't about STD or pregnancy. It says that sex is bad, PER SE. It's the nebulous, 1950's-like charge of "reputation"--another name for "what other people who wish they were doing the same thing think, when it's none of their god dam business".

As for the last picture, a girl and a guy kiss at a college bar. Does ANYONE see something wrong with this?

Is the girl supposed to be the "shameful" one here? What about the guy? He's doing the exact same thing.

The other guy and girl aren't looking at her in contempt--why should they? They likely came to the bar to find the same thing themselves. They're looking past the couple at each other, thinking "that's what WE should be doing", but they're too shy because they've been programmed to think there's something wrong with it. When the ad says "even though you were drunk, this happened", it would really refer to the background couple in black and white. Even though they were drunk, they still didn't have the nerve to talk to each other, discover each other, and do what the couple in the middle of the picture are doing. Those two shy kids should stop paying attention to anti-sex propaganda posters and maybe they'll get what they want--what EVERYONE wants.

When did my generation turn into the scowling, disapproving "old people" we rightly hated then? Don't you people remember college? It was about the joy of doing it for the first time, the joy of doing it just because it was fun and wonderful, not because it has to be part of a "serious commitment"... or "serious" ANYTHING.

Did the repuglicans put some kind of "sex is bad" drug in the water, or has everyone just gone crazy?

--faye kane, homeless idiot savant
Read more of my smartmouth opinions at

Posted by: Knee_Cheese_Zarathustra | September 22, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

You're missing the point, KCZ. The situations you describe all involve people who are still aware of and in control of their actions. The campaign's addressing what happens when you cross that line: when you can no longer read the signals a girl's giving off that she doesn't want you in her personal space; when you're not going to remember taking off your clothes the next day; when that hook-up seems like a vaguely bad idea but you can't summon the presence of mind to say "Hey, let's slow down." As the slogan in the left-hand corner of the pictures says, it's about not *over*doing it, not avoiding it altogether. This Gen Y liberal thinks it's a very clever approach.

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