Drug office kicks off new brand for teens

WASHINGTON: The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) last week unveiled a new brand that will communicate its antidrug message to teenagers.

WASHINGTON: The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) last week unveiled a new brand that will communicate its antidrug message to teenagers.

The "Above the Influence" brand replaces the tagline "What's your antidrug?"
The ONDCP will launch and support the brand with advertising, an interactive website, and grassroots outreach.

"Teens are a moving target," said Tom Riley, director of public affairs for the ONDCP. "Today's teens are more media savvy than any previous generation ... and they're very used to being marketed to. It's very important to talk to teens in a voice that feels authentic."

Riley noted that the old brand had been successful in both reducing teen drug use and raising awareness about its harms. But the ONDCP undertook extensive market research to make sure it was still resonating.

"It's just smart marketing to constantly examine that brand," he said.

The new brand, he added, "talks to them in aspirational terms. Teens are very concerned about their place in the world."

Fleishman-Hillard, the AOR for the ONDCP, will work on unveiling the new website, www. abovetheinfluence.com.

Maria Gallagher, a VP at the agency, noted that very little media outreach would be conducted ahead of the brand's launch, and tactics would mostly be grassroots.

"We really want this to be a true teen-to-teen campaign," she said. The effort is targeting kids 14 to 16.

In keeping with the viral motif, the site will have elements that visitors can send to their friends or post to their blogs.

The firm also plans to create branded cell-phone tags to be given out to teens in 10 markets.

The website addresses other topics that affect teens, such as self-esteem, body image, and sexual activity.

"Teens are using drugs as part of a context," Riley said. "Rather than pretend the context doesn't exist, we're framing the antidrug message in the context of the world in which they live."

He added that the new brand had the highest test scores of any ONDCP campaign.

"Research is informing the theory, execution, and strategy" of the effort, Riley said.

Foote Cone & Belding is working on the ad component.

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