NEW ANTI-DRUG SPOTS STEER AWAY FROM NEGATIVITY
NEW YORK -- The nation's drug control office wants to put a positive spin on rejection.
In a massive ad campaign kicking off today, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) will urge kids to stay "above the influence" of drugs instead of under the influence.
The new spots ditch the "my anti-drug" tag line -- as in "Sports, my anti-drug" and "Friends, my anti-drug"-- used in youth marketing over the last six years. ONDCP will keep the "anti-drug" tag in separate ads directed at parents.
Teens polled by the agency over the last year considered the old anti-drug messages "too negative."
"We decided it was time to change the brand," says ONDCP spokesman Tom Riley.
The office will spend $25 million through April 2006 to get its youth message out via TV, print and Web ads from its new ad agency of record, Foote Cone & Belding.
Federal law requires media outlets to match that in kind, giving the campaign a total of $50 million worth of pages and airtime.
The new work is part of an effort to meet President Bush's goal of reducing teen drug use by 25% by 2007.
Youth drug use is down 17% since Bush set that target in 2002, according to the University of Michigan's annual Monitoring the Future study. Marijuana remains the most popular drug among 14- to 16-year-olds.
The new campaign gives the White House a fresh start following a billing scandal with its previous ad agency, Ogilvy & Mather Worldwide.
Early this year, two Ogilvy executives were convicted for overbilling the office through tactics such as falsifying time sheets in 1999 and 2000. Four other executives pleaded guilty to the charges.
Ogilvy, which handled the anti-drug account since the late 1990s, agreed in 2002 to pay $1.8 million in a deal with the Justice Department to settle civil claims in the overcharging scheme.
FCB had done some anti-drug work in the past, and it became agency of record last October.