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White House Drug Ad Aims At Parents on Super Bowl

Posted by: David Kiley on January 25, 2008

The White House drug office will run an ad during the Super Bowl that tries to make parents more aware of prescription drug abuse by children.

The ad features features a drug dealer complaining that his business is down because kids are taking drugs they find in their medicine cabinets. It ends with an announcer saying: “Teens don’t need a drug dealer to get high, safeguard your prescriptions. Safeguard you teens.”

Watch the ad here.

Congress has become less and less supportive of the ad effort because, starting about ten years ago, it was brought to the attention of key members of Congress that there was no proper peer-reviewed research that showed a link between the ad expenditures and drug use. Ironically, the cuts have led the drug office, perennially stubborn in making the link, to suspend a second campaign aimed at parents and influencers and to concentrate on teens. While there is no bonafide, peer-reviewed research showing the effectiveness of the ad campaign on teen drug use, there has historically been pretty solid tracking studies showing heightened awareness on the part of parents from ads directed at them, which in turn tends to lead to closer involvement by parents in watching kids’ behavior and starting more conversations.

According to the Ad Age story: “Teen drug abuse has gone down sharply — marijuana over 26% in the last six years,” said Thomas A. Riley, a drug office spokesman. “Teen meth has gone down too, says Riley. “The only thing that hasn’t gone down is prescription drug abuse. These ads are intended to shock and surprise parents and put this on their radar screen.” Those stats may be true, but there is nothing legitimate and peer-reviewed proving linkage between the ad efforts and the results

Reader Comments


February 4, 2008 4:00 PM

After seeing the ad, I can say that it was very misleading. The vast majority of medications in your cabinet would probably make a teen sick, not get him or her high. The only exceptions would be powerful painkillers or tranquilizers, but they would probably just make abusers drowsy and sleepy rather than give them a high.

The government drug office has put our highly misleading information about what drugs are, how they're used, by who and their impact, it's a wonder they would think that anyone would believe them in this day and age. Let's remember that this is the same office which claimed that pot leads to schizophrenia, murder, mutations, birth defects, cancer, suicide and death and came up with the infamous "crack baby" story. So far, all these claims have proven to be hyperboles at best and outright lies used for scaremongering at worst. But yet, they press on with more sensationalism and more hype...

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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