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New York, NY, January 19, 2012 – the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, a national nonprofit helping parents solve the problem of teen substance abuse, and Energy BBDO, a Chicago-based, full-service advertising agency, have joined forces to launch “Emotional Drugs.” This provocative new public service campaign sheds light not only on the harmful behavior of teen drug and alcohol use, but on what parents do, or don’t do, to intervene in their child’s substance abuse.
Two 30-second television ads, directed by MJZ’s Phil Joanou, Jr., son of Phil Joanou, a pioneer in advertising and one of the founding members of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, demonstrate how parents’ emotions – avoidance, fear, enabling, shame – are just as powerful and dangerous as drugs themselves.
In “Denial,” a mother wonders why so many prescription pills are missing from her medicine bottle. Later, as she gets ready to leave the house, she opens her son’s bedroom door to witness him and his friend acting suspiciously. Instead of connecting both activities, she denies that her son could possibly be responsible for her missing medicine.
A teen explains how her mother would rather be a buddy to her and her friends than a parent in “Enabling.” The spot depicts the mother hosting an underage party at their home and later turning a blind eye to teens engaging in drug and alcohol use. Both ads illustrate that behaviors like denial and enabling can prevent even the most well-intentioned parents from taking action and addressing their child’s substance use.
“While parenting styles can differ wildly, Energy BBDO successfully tapped into a core consumer insight which will no doubt capture the attention of viewers,” said Rebecca Shaw, VP, Director of Creative Development at the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids. “Many parents question how best to confront their teen’s drug use, even when it’s right in front of them. These ads don’t shy away from highlighting the important role parents play in stopping (or permitting) use by their kid. Based on the incredibly positive feedback we’ve already received, we know this campaign is a great example of the power of honest, insight-driven advertising.”
“I am so proud to have been asked to be a part of this campaign,” Phil Joanou, Jr. shared. “Not only because it has special meaning to me in terms of my father’s involvement in the forming of the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids 25 years ago, but because I truly feel that the message inside these stories could make a difference. It’s been an incredible experience from start to finish.”
The campaign will also include radio and print PSAs. In addition, a corresponding Facebook app was created as a resource for parents, allowing them to share stories, get help and find encouragement to intervene.
Parents can also find information and support at Time To Get Help, a first-of-its-kind website and online community offering answers to questions about adolescent alcohol and drug abuse, dependence and addiction, help from top experts and other parents who have been there and treatment options for their child and family.
About the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids
Ninety percent of addictions get their start in the teenage years. The Partnership at Drugfree.org is dedicated to helping families solve the problem of teen substance abuse. Bringing together renowned scientists, parent experts and communications professionals, this public health nonprofit translates research on teen behavior, parenting, addiction and treatment into useful and effective resources at drugfree.org. Its You Are Not Alone campaign is dedicated to supporting families of the 11 million teens and young adults who need addiction treatment, while the organization’s community education programs reach families at the grassroots level. the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids mission to help parents prevent, intervene in and find treatment for drug and alcohol use by their children depends on donations from individuals, corporations, foundations and the public sector. We are thankful to SAG/AFTRA and the advertising and media industries for their ongoing generosity.
About Energy BBDO
Energy BBDO is a full-service advertising agency based in Chicago and a unit of BBDO Worldwide, the most awarded agency network in the world for creativity and effectiveness. Energy BBDO functions as a highly creative and nimble boutique with all the benefits of a vast agency network. The agency’s philosophy is “Energize People. Energize Brands.®” and demonstrates the belief that only through powerful connections with consumers can a brand thrive. Energy BBDO creates award-winning and sales-driving marketing for clients including Wrigley, Bayer, Frito-Lay, S.C. Johnson, Chicago White Sox and Art Institute of Chicago.