Water is being marketed as a spoof beer brand in the latest campaign aimed to curb problem drinking in New Zealand.

The Health Promotion Agency campaign, which includes television ads, billboards and street posters, begins today and continue until January.

HPA communication and capacity manager Tane Cassidy said water was being marketed in a light-hearted way. That included renaming it Not Beersies, a term audiences were familiar with from previous alcohol awareness campaigns.

He was confident the target audience - 18- to 35-year-olds who drink at a medium-to-high-risk level and who are open to change - would get the message that water was a healthy alternative to alcohol, and a way to help pace drinking.


"We had a lot of success with the Yeah, Nah campaign. This is another tool for saying that; for saying, 'Sorry, boys, I'm on the Not Beersies tonight'."

The humorous style of the ads was about making water a fun and socially acceptable way for people to ease up on alcohol, Cassidy said.

As well as being renamed, water is being described as "brewed by clouds" and with "zero carbs, zero craft, zero beer".

Six TV ads show slow-motion shots of Not Beersies being poured from a bar tap into chilled Not Beersies pint glasses, while the smooth-talking voiceover extols its virtues.

"The advertisements are meant to be a parody of those classic beer advertisements that we're all familiar with and seem to be the staple of beer companies the world over ... it's definitely spoofy, I think it will create a lot of conversation."

By law, free drinking water must be provided at licensed venues.