The campaign against drugs that has the longest duration in the entire UK is Talk to Frank. Yet, has it halted anybody taking drugs?
A decade ago a police SWAT team slammed into a peaceful kitchen somewhere in the suburbs and modified the image of drugs education in the United Kingdom for always. Cautions of how drugs could cause you to become disturbed and impassioned calls to say no to the menacing pushers skulking in every single playground disappeared. In came the quirky funny side and a light-hearted attitude.
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 delivered by the advert had not been heard before either: "Drugs are illegal. Talking about them isn't. So, Talk to Frank."
Frank, the new identity for the National Drugs Helpline, was coined by the advertising agency Mother. The idea was to build a reliable "older brother" image that could provide advice to teenagers about banned substances. Entirety from the ventures of Pablo, the canine medications mule, to a visit cycle a mind, distribution centre has been exhibited under the Frank name, making it a natural brand name among the country's youth.
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. Even the YouTube videos that spoof Frank are respectful. There's also no indication that Frank is working for the government, which is unusual for a government funded campaign.
Substance education has developed a lot since Nancy Reagan, and in the United Kingdom, Grange Hill cast encouraged teens to simply "Say No" to drugs, a campaign which several professionals now think had the opposite of the desire effect.
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 some places where there are still tough penalties for possession, ads showing prison bars or disappointed parents are still the norm. For example, in Singapore, a recent campaign recently told young people, "You play, you pay."
In the UK, the government has burned through millions on Above the Influence, a long-running movement that urges positive contrasting options to drug usage utilizing a blend of amusement and useful examples. In the ad, teenagers are communicated to in a manner they are familiar with, like some "stoners" being marooned on a couch. However, an amazing number of anti-drug battles far and wide still fall back on terrify strategies and specifically, the drug driven "fall into hell." The DrugsNot4Me series recently launched a commercial in Canada that shows a beautiful, self-assured young lady metamorphosis after using "drugs" into a shaking, hollow-eyed mess.
Research that was done on a UK anti-drug campaign between 1999 and 2004 shows that describing the negative effects of abuse will often actually encourage young people "on the margins of society" to use drugs.
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.
One primary online promotion educated viewers: "Cocaine makes you feel high and in charge."
Hitting the middle road with an ad to give the right message always proved to be a challenge. The person behind this cocaine ad has said that he now thinks he thought the average person browsing the web had a longer attention span. It is difficult for some to view the ad till the last point where the dangers of drug use were listed. However, Powell says the point was to be more legitimate with youngsters about medications, keeping in mind the end goal to build up the believability of the Frank brand.
One survey said that 67 percent of young people would call Frank if they needed advice about drugs. Frank helpline received 225,892 phone calls and 3,341,777 hits on the website in the period 2011-2012. It's confirmed, it contends, that the method works.
However, just like every other anti-drugs campaign in the world , there's no evidence that Frank has actually stopped people from taking drugs.
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.
FRANK is a national service that offers drug education and was formed in 2003 by the Department of Health in partnership with Home Office of the British government. FRANK's vision is to equip the youth with the bold facts and knowledge about the legal and illegal use of narcotics to reduce the drug use. It has had several media campaigns on the Internet and the radio.
FRANK provides the following services for people who seek information and/or advice about drugs: