White House Uses Super Bowl Spot for Anti-Drug Ad

Jan 24, 2008  •  Post A Comment

Temporarily suspending its warnings to teens about marijuana and illegal drug use, the White House drug office will use its first Super Bowl spot in four years to caution that the biggest teen drug danger could be the legal medicines stored in parents’ medicine cabinets.
A 12-week multimedia campaign for the first time switches the youth anti-drug campaign’s focus from teens to their parents, delivering a loud warning that it’s not just illegal drugs that put teens at risk.
The $14 million campaign, which will get $28 million in airtime, was produced by Draft FCB for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
The spot, set to air at the end of the first half of the Super Bowl, features a drug dealer complaining that his business is down because teens are getting high from using drugs in the medicine cabinet.
It ends with an announcer saying, “Teens don’t need a drug dealer to get high. Safeguard your prescriptions. Safeguard your teens.”
Fox has been asking $2.6 million to $3 million for a Super Bowl spot. Drug office officials declined to say what the government paid. Under the youth anti-drug program, media companies have to provide a free spot of similar media weight for every spot the government buys. The free airings will occur in other Fox programming.
Whatever the exact cost, the Super Bowl spot represents a chunk of the declining spending Congress has been putting toward the ad program. Only $60 million was authorized by Congress this year, less than half of the $130 million requested and less than a third of the spending in the campaign’s early days.
Partnership President-CEO Stephen J. Pasierb defends the Super Bowl spending, citing the telecast’s impact.
“It’s a great opportunity to make a national impact, and particularly with the writers’ strike, we are losing some of the marquee events we had,” he said.
The latest effort is far tamer than some of the drug office’s earlier Super Bowl efforts. In one of the most controversial spots, which ran five months after the Sept. 11 attacks, an ad showed a shopping list that includes an AK-47 rifle.
“Where do terrorists get their money?” said the voiceover. “If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you.”


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