The campaign against drugs that has the longest duration in the entire UK is Talk to Frank. Has it managed to get people to quit substance abuse?
The drug education in the entire UK received a total turn around ten years back when the police Swat team ran into a rural kitchen somewhere in the UK. The doom and gloom teachings coupled with pushing to keep away from the drug pushers who are everywhere was thrown out. In came the quirky funny side and a light-hearted attitude.
In the first ad, a mother suggests to her teenage son that they have a chat about drugs so he calls the police snatch squad. But the new information being passed is: "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So, Talk to Frank."
Frank: Cordial Private Drug Guidance
An idea that started with someone's mother, Frank was now the new name of the National Drugs Helpline. It was supposed to be the symbol of a reliable older brother that younger individuals can go to for guidance regarding illegal substances. Frank is has become a household name among the young people due to the many adventure stories that came from the theme such as Pablo the drugs mule dog to a tour of the brain warehouse.
According to Justin Tindal, the creative director of Leo Burnett the ad agency, what is of more importance is the fact that no-one ever saw Frank physically, so it was difficult for mockers to pick on him or blame him for not treating the kids right. Parody videos on YouTube have not been able to disrespect Frank either. Also, there's no sign that Frank is a government agent - something that is rare in the history of campaigns paid for by government.
Right from the days of Nancy Reagan, a lot has been done about drugs education, and the Grange Hill cast which a lot of people opine that it did more harm than good, simply encouraged people to "Just Say No" to drugs.
Majority of the ads in Europe now follow the footsteps of Frank in trying to be sincere and allowing the teenagers the right to choose. You still see pictures of prison bars and upset parents, though, in countries where dealing drugs will get you in serious trouble with the law. You play, you pay is a campaign that was launched in Singapore recently.
In the UK, the Above the Influence campaign has cost the federal government millions of dollars and uses humour and cautionary stories to encourage people to choose positive alternatives to drugs The accentuation is on conversing with youngsters in their own particular dialect - one promotion demonstrates a group of "stoners" marooned on a couch. Though, an unexpected number of anti-drug campaigns all over the globe still resort back to strategies intended to arouse fear or alarm, specifically the substance-fuelled plunge to hell. A good example is a Canadian commercial that appeared recently and formed part of the DrugsNot4Me series in which a beautiful, self-assured young woman changes into a trembling, hollow-eyed skeleton because of "drugs".
A study carried out in the UK on anti-drugs campaign that ran between 1999 and 2004 shows that adverts that portray the negative results of drug use influence vulnerable youth to try out with the drugs.
The opposition Conservative politicians were initially against Frank, simply because it pointed out the ups and downs of drug use, but it made giant strides.
An early online advertisement told people that cocaine made you feel on of the world.
It wasn't at all times simple to balance the message correctly. According to the then creative director of digital agency Profero, Matt Powell, who designed the ad, he was wrong in believing that a normal web user has an adequate attention span. There will be many who could not have seen the adverse effects of the drugs at the end of the animation. However, the goal of the ad was to be upfront with young people about the effects of drugs so that Frank could establish some accountability.
A 67% of the youth say they would ask Frank for advice related to drugs according to the Home Office. In 2011 and 2012, Frank received 225,892 calls and 3,341,777 visits to the website. It's confirmed, it contends, that the method works.
Though, like with any other anti-drug media campaign around the globe, there's no proof that Frank has stopped people to use substances.
During the decade that the Frank campaign was introduced, drug abuse figures in the UK have reduced by 9%; however, much of the decline has been attributed to a reduction in the use of cannabis as the more youth shun smoking tobacco.
What Is Frank?
FRANK is a national service that offers drug education and was formed in 2003 by the Department of Health in partnership with Home Office of the British government. It is envisioned to lessen the utilization of both lawful and illicit medications by instructing youngsters as well as teenagers about the potential impacts of medications and liquor. It has run numerous media promotions on radio and the web.