The longest running anti-drug campaign in the UK is Talk to Frank. But has it actually worked and stopped drug use?
Ten years prior a police Swat group collided with a calm suburban kitchen and transformed the substance of medication education in the UK until the end of time. The doom and gloom teachings coupled with pushing to keep away from the drug pushers who are everywhere was thrown out. Instead, wit and fun including games were embraced.
In the first ad, a mother suggests to her teenage son that they have a chat about drugs so he calls the police snatch squad. The message, "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So Talk to Frank", was brand new as well.
Frank: Friendly Confidential Drug Advice
One can actually say that Frank which was a brain child of "Mother" ad firm became the new National Drugs Helpline It was supposed to represent a trusted, big brother figure that young people could call for advice about drugs. The quests of Pablo, the dog that's used as a substance mule, to a tour around a brain warehouse have been put forward under the Frank name, making it a well-known trade name amongst the youth of the nation.
The agency behind Frank has said that it was crucial that Frank was never actually seen so he could never be the target of ridicule for wearing the wrong thing or trying to be cool. Parody videos on YouTube have not been able to disrespect Frank either. There's also no indication that Frank is working for the government, which is unusual for a government funded campaign.
Right from the days of Nancy Reagan, a lot has been done about drugs education, and the Grange Hill cast which a lot of people opine that it did more harm than good, simply encouraged people to "Just Say No" to drugs.
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. In nations with solid punishments for ownership, pictures of jail bars and disgraced guardians are still typical. You play, you pay. is the ad used to warn young people going for night clubbing in Singapore.
In the UK, the Above the Influence campaign has cost the federal government millions of dollars and uses humour and cautionary stories to encourage people to choose positive alternatives to drugs In the ad, teenagers are communicated to in a manner they are familiar with, like some "stoners" being marooned on a couch. Though, an unexpected number of anti-drug campaigns all over the globe still resort back to strategies intended to arouse fear or alarm, specifically the substance-fuelled plunge to hell. 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.
"Cocaine makes you feel on top of the world" was used in one of the early internet ad campaigns.
Balancing the message is not always easy to get right. The man in arrears the cocaine advertisement, Matt Powell, then creative director of digital agency Profero, now disbelieves he overvalued the focus span of the ordinary web browser. It is difficult for some to view the ad till the last point where the dangers of drug use were listed. The idea behind the ad according to Powell is to make the Frank brand a more honest one by being sincere to teenagers about drugs.
The Home Office says 67% of youngsters in a study said they would swing to Frank in the event that they required drug guidance. In 2011 and 2012, Frank received 225,892 calls and 3,341,777 visits to the website. It's confirmed, it contends, that the method works.
Though, like with any other anti-drug media campaign around the globe, there's no proof that Frank has stopped people to use substances.
Substance use in the United Kingdom has decreased by 9% in the ten years since the campaign was introduced, though the pros say a lot of this is because of a decline in the use of cannabis use, probably connected to younger people's changing attitudes towards smoking tobacco.
What Is Frank?
FRANK is a nationwide drug education programme designed and run by the British government's Department of Health in collaboration with the Home Office in 2003. It was designed to lower the rate of both legal and illegal drug use by providing education to teenagers and young people about what the effects of using drug and alcohol could be. A lot of media campaigns have been put out on both the radio and the internet.