Russian health campaign tackles demon of drinking

Following its anti-alcohol campaign which featured a deranged squirrel and went viral over the internet, the Russian Ministry of Health has offered adherents of a healthy lifestyle the option of donning clothes that display the crazed squirrel.

­The idea comes just before the New Year holidays and is aimed at curbing excessive drinking. Fans of the character, and those who want to promote a healthy lifestyle, can download the design, which features the squirrel and the words ‘Are you drinking? Then I am coming your way.’ from the Ministry’s website and have it screen-printed on their clothing.

Other design options include anti-smoking ads that the Ministry says will “improve your mood and show that you are in perfect shape and have conquered your bad habits.”

The frenzied rodent comes from a popular video campaign and is a play on the notion of drinking as the cause of madness, since the Russian word for ‘squirrel’ often refers to delirium. More than two million viewers have so far watched the video.