The longest running anti-drug campaign in the UK is Talk to Frank. But, have people quit drug abuse through this?
A decade ago a police SWAT team slammed into a peaceful kitchen somewhere in the suburbs and modified the image of drugs education in the United Kingdom for always. Grim warnings about how drugs could mess you up and genuine pleas to resist the pushers that were creeping around every playground were gone. In came strange humour and a light, yet energetic approach.
In the first advertisement a teenager phoned a police team to detain his mother when she proposed that they had a peaceful discussion regarding drugs. But the new information being passed is: "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So, Talk to Frank."
One can actually say that Frank which was a brain child of "Mother" ad firm became the new National Drugs Helpline The idea was to build a reliable "older brother" image that could provide advice to teenagers about banned 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 Tindall, creative director of Leo Burnett ad agency, the most important thing is that no one could accuse frank of trying to be "down with the kids," or coming out with the wrong attire. Many people have high regard for the YouTube spoof videos of Frank too. Also, there's no sign that Frank is a government agent - something that is rare in the history of campaigns paid for by government.
Substance education has developed a lot since Nancy Reagan, and in the United Kingdom, Grange Hill cast encouraged teens to simply "Say No" to drugs, a campaign which several professionals now think had the opposite of the desire effect.
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 the ad used to warn young people going for night clubbing in Singapore.
Above the Influence, which is an ad that has lasted for a very long time to encourage young people to seek for alternatives to drugs, and which has gulped the UK government some huge amount of money combine caution and humour. The focus of the campaign is to talk to the youth in a language they understand, like the one ad showing a group of "stoners" stranded on a coach. However, an amazing number of anti-drug battles far and wide still fall back on terrify strategies and specifically, the drug driven "fall into hell." A classic illustration is a current Canadian business, part of the DrugsNot4Me arrangement, which demonstrates an appealing, sure young lady's change into a shuddering and hollow eyed smash-up on account of "drugs."
Research that was done on a UK anti-drug campaign between 1999 and 2004 shows that describing the negative effects of abuse will often actually encourage young people "on the margins of society" to use drugs.
Frank made brand new ground - and received a lot of criticism from the conservative opposition politicians at that time - for being brave enough to put forward that substances might provide highs and lows.
An early online advertisement told people that cocaine made you feel on of the world.
Hitting the middle road with an ad to give the right message always proved to be a challenge. Matt Powell was the creative director of digital agency Profero, the company that came up with the cocaine ad; he now thinks he miscalculated the time an average user spends on browsing the internet. 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.
According to the Home Office, up to 67% of teenagers preferred to talk to Frank if drug advice becomes necessary. 225,892 calls were made to the Frank helpline and 3,341,777 visits to the site in 2011/12. The argument is that this is proof that the approach is working.
Yet, similar to each other anti-drugs media battle on the planet, there is no proof Frank has ceased individuals consuming drugs.
Drug usage in the UK has gone around 9% in the decade since the conflict propelled, yet specialists say quite a bit of this is down to a decrease in cannabis utilization, potentially connected to changing states of mind towards smoking tobacco among youngsters.
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's supposed to reduce the use of illegal and legal substances by teaching teens about the possible effects of alcohol and drugs. Several media campaigns on the web and on radio have been put out by this programme.
Available services at FRANK for those who seek help about drugs include: