Pubdate: Tue, 01 Apr 2003
Source: Advertising Age (US)
Copyright: 2003 Crain Communications Inc.
Author: Ira Teinowitz
Cited: Office of National Drug Control Policy (
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)


Also Stops Study That Found Campaign Wasn't Working

WASHINGTON ( -- The White House anti-drug office will end its 
controversial drugs-and-terror advertising campaign and, in a reversal, 
shift more of its

'You killed me,' says the ghost of a little girl to a U.S. office worker in 
one of the White House anti-drug campaign's cancelled ads.

$150 million budget toward children's media as it fights for Congress to 
extend the program another five years.

The Office of National Drug Control Policy will also cease a polarizing $8 
million annual study that found the ads aimed at youth were not working and 
that pitted the drug office against the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

Youth-Oriented Media

Now, the office will direct 60% of its buys toward youth-oriented media -- 
the same percentage it had previously directed at adults -- and will focus 
on halting drug use among children already using rather than aim to deter 
youth from starting drugs. The drugs-and-terror ads will end in May.

The drugs-and-terror campaign first broke five months after the Sept. 11 
attacks, with two Super Bowl ads that cost the drug office more than $3 
million to run. The spots centered on the idea that people who purchase 
drugs help fund terrorism. One ad showed a shopping list that includes an 
AK-47 rifle. "Where do terrorists get their money?" said the voice-over. 
"If you buy drugs, some of it might come from you." Later ads replaced 
"terrorism" with "terror," suggesting drug buys supported drug-cartel 
attacks on innocent civilians.

Ogilvy & Mather Controversy

The ads were controversial not only because of their message, but because 
of the way they were produced. While almost all White House Office of 
National Drug Control Policy creative comes from the Partnership, the 
terrorism ads were produced outside the Partnership by the drug office's 
agency, WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather.

The Partnership said the ads were off-strategy and refused to do any of the 
spots. Partnership Vice Chairman Allen Rosenshine, chairman-CEO of Omnicom 
Group's BBDO Worldwide, ripped the campaign in a congressional hearing.

Spending Cuts

The battle, coming to a drug office already wounded by complaints over 
Ogilvy's initial stewardship of the account, bolstered congressional 
critics who tried to cut spending dramatically. They eventually reduced it 
by about $25 million to about $150 million.

Legislation to continue the program is expected to soon be proposed by a 
bipartisan group of senators. Reps. Mark Souder, R-Ind., chairman of the 
Government Reform panel, and Rob Portman, R-Ohio, said last week that it 
would likely include language limiting the drug office's ability to go 
outside the Partnership for creative and also language that could require 
the drug office to rebid the contract won last year by Ogilvy.
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