HTTP/1.0 200 OK Content-Type: text/html Study Faults White House Anti-Drug Ads
Pubdate: Mon, 19 Jan 2004
Source: Advertising Age (US)
Copyright: 2004 Crain Communications Inc.
Author: Ira Teinowitz
Cited: Office of National Drug Control Policy ( )
Bookmark: (ONDCP Media Campaign)
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Walters, John)


Report Says Campaigns Have Little Impact On Youth

WASHINGTON -- A study commissioned by the National Institute on Drug Abuse 
(NIDA) has concluded that the advertising program of the White House 
anti-drug office has had little impact on its primary target: America's 

Conducted jointly by the Annenberg School of Communications at the 
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia and Westat, a 30-year-old 
research firm in Rockville, Md., the analysis concluded that "there is 
little evidence of direct favorable [advertising] campaign effects on youth."

Officials of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) 
were not immediately available for comment today because of the Martin 
Luther King Day holiday, which has closed most federal offices.

In the past ONDCP officials have questioned previous NIDA evaluations, 
claiming they survey a far smaller number of youths than a long-running 
University of Michigan "Monitoring the Future" survey that has reported 
opposite results.

The latest release of the Monitoring the Future results, on Dec. 19, showed 
an 11% decline in drug use by eighth, 10th and 12th graders over the past 
two years. John P. Walters, the White House "drug czar" and Tom Hedrick, 
founding director of the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, attributed 
some of those results to the ad campaign.

$150 million The drug office spends $150 million a year on advertising, and 
those expenditures have been the subject of ongoing controversy in Congress.

The NIDA report covers the advertising campaign's start in September 1999 
through June 2003.

Entitled "Evaluation of the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign: 2003 
Report of Findings," the report issued by NIDA notes that the advertising 
campaigns have had a "favorable effect" on parents but not on the children, 
whose illicit drug use is the focus of the ads.

Marijuana emphasis The White House ad campaign, though aimed at all illicit 
drug use, intensified its focus on marijuana in the fall of 2002.

However, the report said that investigators found that "youth who were more 
exposed to [the anti-drug advertising campaign] messages are no more likely 
to hold favorable beliefs or intentions about marijuana than are youth less 
exposed to those messages."

NIDA, part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, has been 
the agency charged with officially evaluating the White House's anti-drug 
ad campaigns for years.

WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather, New York, handles the drug office advertising 
account, but most ads come from the Partnership. A Partnership spokesman 
did not return calls.

Ogilvy & Mather While the drug office has enjoyed some strong congressional 
support, it also has strong critics on Capitol Hill who have questioned 
both the ads effectiveness and the use of Ogilvy, which earlier settled for 
$1.8 million civil charges that it overbilled the government for its ad 
work on the anti-drug account. Two former Ogilvy officials were recently 
indicted on charges related to those disputed billings.
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