Anti-Drug Ads: Easy on The Cheesy

Anti-Drug Ads: Easy on The Cheesy
Posted by CN Staff on December 05, 2002 at 22:00:05 PT
By Connie Thomas
Source: Register-Guard
Two boys are smoking pot and one pulls out a gun. "Cool, is it loaded?" one asks. "Naw," the other replies, as he pulls the trigger casually. BANG! And the screen fades to black.My third-period English class guffaws hysterically at this cheesy commercial as we watch our daily dose of Channel One News. People are too busy laughing to notice the words, "Marijuana distorts your sense of reality," flashing across the screen.
Like so much public service propaganda, this commercial obviously isn't getting the message across to teens. In fact, I'd bet that a kid or two in my class thought about how much funnier that commercial would have been if they were stoned.On the other hand, when I see an ad with an adorable little girl on it who was "killed by a drunk driver," I'm deeply saddened.Some would argue that nothing will stop kids from doing drugs or other nasty things, but there are some advertising techniques that definitely affect teens more than others.I conducted an informal survey of 35 juniors and seniors at my school to see what those techniques are. I used the example of anti-drug ads, and results were clear.Teens said that true stories are the most persuasive form of advertisements.Amy Carrier, 18, said real stories "get to the heart of you. You feel the reality of them because they are serious."Janet Freerks, 17, agreed: "True life stories are intense and get the message across. The commercial where the coroner talks about the girl who overdosed on ecstasy is a really good ad; it shows how scary party drugs can be."Survey takers ranked "drugs are gross" and "drugs hurt your body" ads as the next best forms."It helps to show long-term effects or what can happen if you use drugs and alcohol," said Lindsey Wilson, 18.The teens surveyed had mixed responses about the use of humor. Chelsea Hammond, 17, said ads that seemed humorous, such as the "I miss my lung, Bob," billboard were the best kind."You remember what makes you smile," she said.Other teens ranked humor as one of the worst tactics."Cheery humor ads do not get the point across to people (about) how serious a matter doing drugs can be," senior Nyssa Goodwin said."Drugs aren't funny; they're dangerous," Jena Shaw, a junior, said.Kids said using celebrities is the worst technique."Celebrities don't sell it for me," Freerks said. "It seems hypocritical. No one really knows what they do. Are they doing the ad just to get some charity out of the way?"Jessica Dale, senior, agreed. "You know the only reason they do that is to get paid. Famous people are probably doing some sort of drugs anyway, so why listen to them?"The surveys came back with stinging criticism of ads, but also some sincere suggestions for improvement.Garrett Strader, a junior, said "instead of high kids, talk to adults who are still stoners and show kids what their lives are like."Renee Ricard, a senior, laughed especially hard at the commercial in English class.She suggested that ads link a drug with its correct effect, "Like a drunk driver hitting a child, or a marijuana smoker becoming so obsessed with pot that they don't care about anything else."Overall, I agreed with the survey's results. The harsh reality of substance abuse is compelling. True stories get to me.However, I couldn't care less about hair-tossed, lip-glossed Jessica Simpson proclaiming that she doesn't smoke weed.Honesty, facts and true stories may stick in teens' minds when they're forced to make judgment calls. Bandwagon propaganda goes up in smoke.Connie Thomas is a senior at Pleasant Hill High. Source: Register-Guard, The (OR)Author: Connie Thomas Published: December 3, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Register-GuardContact: rgletters guardnet.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Crossfire Transcripts: Do Drug Ads Work? View: Marijuana Policy Fails Youth Anti-Drug Ads Ineffective Drug Czar Says Ad Campaign has Flopped
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Comment #3 posted by Nasarius on December 06, 2002 at 14:10:31 PT
Another Suggestion
Carl Sagan. His profession required constant deep, analytical thinking. While he may not have been the greatest astronomer, he made enormous strides in communicating science to the public. Smoking pot on occassion obviously didn't hurt him a bit.In fact, I imagine that the stereotypical "loser stoner" is rather difficult to find. Just as very few consumers of alcohol are alcoholics, the vast majority of cannabis smokers are responsible users. This may be one of the most difficult obstacles for legalization: the assumption that there's some magical barrier between alcohol and illegal drugs.
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Comment #2 posted by kanabys on December 06, 2002 at 10:09:41 PT
They would be quite surprised I imagine :)
>>Garrett Strader, a junior, said "instead of high kids, talk to adults who are still stoners and show kids what their lives are like."The antis may not like the result of that. ;)
There are MANY MANY adult stoners who are very productive citizens and can not be distinquished from their non-stoner brethren, 'cept with ye olde drug test :(
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Comment #1 posted by Harvey Pendrake on December 05, 2002 at 22:36:12 PT
Some suggestions...
"instead of high kids, talk to adults who are still stoners and show kids what their lives are like."Excellent idea. Here’s some “stoners” for consideration:Paul McCartney
Bill Maher
Jennifer Anniston
Brad Pitt
Richard Cowan
Dr. Grinspoon
Any number of professional sports figures
Dave Mathews
Anyone who uses marijuana to ease the pain of cancer, MS, AIDS and other diseases"Like a drunk driver hitting a child, or a marijuana smoker becoming so obsessed with pot that they don't care about anything else."Sure, that’s fair – as long as you also show the people who become obsessed with Lotto, coffee, chocolate, video games, porn, shopping, talk radio, masturbation, washing their cars, sports, etc -- and then explain why all those people belong in jail. 
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