The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy today launches new creative during the Winter Olympics on NBC that is aimed at parents as part of its anti-drug media campaign. But administration officials said this would be the only parent-targeted effort this year because of campaign budget cuts.
Three TV spots, crafted by WPP Group's Grey through the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, focus on the importance of parents setting expectations about not tolerating drug use. The effort also includes radio and print work.
In a spot called "Mom," a girl is seen leaving home and saying goodbye to her mother. As the youngster is about to cross a street, the mother appears and reminds her daughter to look both ways before crossing. The mother appears and disappears throughout the spot until the last scene, when the daughter is offered marijuana and doesn't know what to do. It ends with, "If you never told her, how will she know what to do?"
The same creative technique is used in a spot called "Dad," wherein the father appears to offer his son guidance throughout a subway ride to meet friends. But when the son's friends offer him marijuana, the father does not appear and a similar tagline is seen.
"Of all the people that influence the choices teens make, no one has more impact than parents do and that's the message these spots drive home," said Brian Fallon, an associate creative director at Grey.
White House officials said advertising messages directed at parents have played a key role in helping to reduce teen drug use. "We've made real progress in the last few years in keeping teens away from drugs, and the advertising for parents has been a big part of that," said John Walters, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy.
But Walters noted that the campaign's current budget of $99 million, the lowest since the effort began in 1998, could hurt efforts to reduce drug use. "Parental disapproval of teen drug use plays a strong role in preventing teens from drug use," Walters said. "We risk losing the hard-won momentum we have gained over the past few years and seeing youth drug use rebound."
The new effort will run through mid-May.