Campaigns: Public Affairs - Spidey spins Web to fight drug use

The explosion of e-commerce is drawing raves, but the Office of National Drug Control Policy knows the Internet can promote social change, too.

The explosion of e-commerce is drawing raves, but the Office of National Drug Control Policy knows the Internet can promote social change, too.

The explosion of e-commerce is drawing raves, but the Office of

National Drug Control Policy knows the Internet can promote social

change, too.



With the help of PR giant Fleishman-Hillard, it has launched the boldest

communications offensive ever against illegal drugs.



Congress authorized the drug policy office to initiate a five-year,

dollars 1 billion ’National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign.’ The private

sector is matching that amount in goods and services. To raise awareness

and concern about illegal drug use, the effort employs traditional

advertising.



But to promote lasting behavioral changes, the campaign uses an

integrated strategy. An important element of that is PR: Fleishman is

working with interactive ad agency OgilvyOne (New York) on a

comprehensive Web campaign.





Strategy



The plan calls for a ’surround sound’ strategy: anti-drug messages

online will come from the campaign, in addition to other sources.

Impressionable ’tweens’ (11-to-13 year olds) are a principal target,

since avoiding drug use in those years makes it less likely serious

problems will develop later on. Parents and caregivers are another

important target.





Tactics



The campaign has produced seven web sites, including two ’flagships.’

Freevibe provides anti-drug information to tweens and teens.

Theantidrug.com is for parents and adult mentors. But F-H SVP Aili

Jokela insists the goal is to ’be everywhere’ through partnerships and

online editorial outreach.



The drug policy office’s partnership with Marvel Comics has put Spider

Man comics online that contain anti-drug messages. Similarly, the

office’s associate sponsorship of ESPN’s summer X games gave F-H the

opportunity to interview athletes on why kids should ’get vertical, not

high.’ Responses generated editorial material for the web sites.



Kids seeking information about illegal drugs on search engines will find

anti-drug messages prepared by OgivlyOne with links to the drug office’s

sites that F-H developed. Similarly, the agency initiated an online

partnership with the YMCA that has anti-drug areas on its web site and

special material on an intranet for adults. A recently announced

partnership with 21st Century Teachers Network, a group that promotes

the use of technology in classrooms, will help to increase awareness of

the teachers’ guide on the Freevibe site.



’Talk Turkey Day’ was developed to provide tips for parents about

talking with their kids over Thanksgiving dinner on the importance of

avoiding illegal drug use. Adults visiting parental areas on Lycos and

AOL were able to click to the ’Talk Turkey’ area on theantidrug.com.



Some Federal departments and agencies are getting involved as well. For

instance, the heavily visited ’NASA for Kids’ web site urges young kids

to ’explore space ... not drugs.’





Results



In the first year, the campaign forged 23 online partnerships, and 40

news and other sites have carried anti-drug messages. Traffic on sites

that have provided editorial support was estimated at 36 million. Over

10 million page views occurred on the drug policy office’s official web

sites in 1999. More importantly, the office’s research shows slight

increases in tween disapproval of using marijuana and inhalants.





Future



Look for greater Web targeting of niche audiences and work with state

and local coalitions and governments. The National Youth Anti-Drug Media

Campaign will be forging greater links with the entertainment industry

and companies, which should provide greater online opportunities.



Client: Office of National Drug Control Policy (Washington, DC)

PR Team: Fleishman-Hillard (Washington, DC)

Campaign: Anti-drug Web campaign

Time Frame: December 1998 to present

Budget: dollars 1.4 million for FH’s 1999 online PR efforts



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