Sainsbury's and Waitrose have shunned a major new marketing campaign launched this week to tackle Britain’s binge drinking culture.

More than 45 organisations have signed up to the £100m Campaign For Smarter Drinking. They include Morrisons, Asda, Tesco, M&S, The Co-operative Group, the ACS and a plethora of drinks brands. But both Sainsbury's and Waitrose are notable by their absence. Sainsbury's said it supported the principles, but didn’t want to participate.

“We feel it duplicates rather than furthers our existing work,” said a spokesman, who pointed out Sainsbury's had taken a lead role in setting up other responsible alcohol retailing initiatives.

The campaign, which will run for five years, aimed to engage with the target market of 18 to 30-year-olds rather than lecture them, said campaign chairman Richard Evans. “This is asking them a question, it’s asking them to think for themselves, and to act on it.”

The campaign, which will remind people to drink water and eat while they’re out, uses the strapline ‘why let good times go bad?’, a message that will appear on 10 million packs of beer, wines and spirits over the five years.