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. The doom and gloom teachings coupled with pushing to keep away from the drug pushers who are everywhere was thrown out. A sort of comedy was also brought into the message in the bid to pass it appropriately.
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. The message delivered by the advert had not been heard before either: "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So, Talk to Frank."
An idea that started with someone's mother, Frank was now the new name of the National Drugs Helpline. It was supposed to represent a trusted, big brother figure that young people could call for advice about drugs. To become a familiar brand with youth in the UK, the Frank label has presented everything from the adventures of pablo the drug mule to a tour of a brain warehouse.
According to the creative director, Justin Tindall, of the advertising agency, Leo Burnett, it was important that Frank was at no time seen in the flesh so that he could never be the victim of ridicule for wearing the incorrect shoes or attempting to be "down with the kids". Even the YouTube videos that spoof Frank are respectful. As there is nothing that remotely suggests Frank is a government project, the campaign is viewed as a first occurrence funded by the 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.
Most promotions in Europe now concentrate, similar to Frank, on attempting to give fair-minded data to help youngsters settle on their own choices. There are still images of prison cells and hurt parents being presented in countries that have strong penalties for drugs possession. One late battle in Singapore told youthful clubbers: "You play, you pay."
In the United States of America, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on a long-running campaign, Above the Influence, that sells positive possibilities to using substances by making use of a combination of funny and cautionary stories. One ad shows a group of "stoners" sitting on a sofa and emphasizes talking to young people in the language of their generation. But the scare tactics is still prevalent in majority of the campaigns against drugs around the globe, especially the "descent into hell" which is drug inspired. One example is one of the DrugsNot4Me series in Canada that revealed how a very pretty confident woman slipped into deep-eyed wreck because of drugs.
According to studies into a United States anti-drugs campaign between 1999 and 2004, advertisements showing the undesirable effects of substance abuse can frequently urge younger people who are marginalised to experiment with substances.
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.
Understanding the true information behind the message was very difficult. 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, Powell claims the objective was to be more open with youngsters regarding substances, in an attempt to form the credibility of the Frank image.
According to the Home Office, 67% of younger people in a survey stated that they would ask Frank if they required advice on drugs. A total of 225,892 calls were made to the Frank helpline and a total of 3,341,777 visits to the site in 2011/12. The argument is that this is proof that the approach is working.
However, just like every other anti-drugs campaign in the world , there's no evidence that Frank has actually stopped people from taking drugs.
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.
FRANK was launched in 2003 as a collaborated effort of the Department of Health and Home Office of the British government as a national drug education service. 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: