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The creative strategy Essay

Early spots of creative strategy used by the Partnership for Drug FreeAmerica in its advertising campaign are considered “melodramatic”relying too much on scare tactics and stereotypes such as the school bus driver who snorts cocaine; African-American boys selling crack inthe school yard; and the “one puff and you are hooked” messages.Academics as well as others studying the effects of drug abuse programs questioned these approaches, noting that scare tactics oftenhave not been found to be an effective way to change attitudes and behavior Critics argued that there was no evidence to support the claim thatthe anti-drug ads could alter behavior.

(NIDA) were released which concluded that the advertising of the ONDCP has had little impact on its primary target: America’s teenagers. The study, which was conducted by the University of Pennsylvania’s Annenberg School of Communications and the Westat research firm, concluded that “there is little evidence of direct favorable advertising campaign effects on youth.” The report, which was titled “Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: 2003 Report of Findings,” noted that the anti-drug advertising campaigns had a favorable effect on parents but not on children, whose illicit drug use is the focus of the ads.

However, the ONDCP officials had questioned previous NIDA reports, claiming that they surveyed a smaller number of youths than the long-running University of Michigan’s “Monitoring the Future” surveys. A December 2003 release of the Monitoring the Future report showed an 11% decline in drug use by eighth, 10th and 12th graders between 2001 and 2003. Spokespersons for both the PDFA and the ONDCP attributed some of those results to the ad campaign. However, officials at both organizations recognized that the debate over the effectiveness of the anti-drug ads would continue and they would have to continue to argue their case to avoid further cuts in government funding for the campaign.

Discussion Questions

1.Evaluate the creative strategy used by the Partnership for a Drug Free America in its advertising campaign, particularly with respect to the use of strong fear appeals.

2.Much of the controversy surrounding the anti-drug advertising campaigns has involved the determination of the effectiveness of the ads. Evaluate the various approaches used to determine the effectiveness of the anti-drug ads. What types of measures should be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the campaign?

3.Discuss the merits of using an integrated marketing communications program that encompasses a variety of communication tools to prevent drug use versus an approach that relies primarily on media advertising.

4.Evaluate the advertising campaign developed by Ogilvy & Mather for the
ONDCP linking drug use with terrorism. Do you think these ads were an effective way of changing the attitudes and behavior of young people with regard to the use of drugs? Why or why not?

5.Evaluate the merits of the anti-drug advertising campaign from a social perspective. Should the government be involved in this effort or is the PDFA the more appropriate organization?

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