Talk To Frank is an anti-drugs campaign in the United Kingdom that has been running for the longest time. Yet, has it halted anybody taking drugs?
A police Swat team in the UK burst into a kitchen of a quiet suburban home, and the results were a complete turnaround of the way drug education was done for good. Out went horrid notices of how medications could "mess you up" and sincere appeals to oppose the vile pushers prowling in each play area. A lighter, more humorous approach was used instead.
In the main advertisement, an adolescent kid brings in a police grab squad to capture his mom when she recommends they have a tranquil chat about medications. The message was new as well: "Drugs are illicit. Discussing them isn't. So Talk to Frank."
Devised by the advertising agency, Mother, Frank was actually the National Drugs Helpline brand new name. It was supposed to represent a trusted, big brother figure that young people could call for advice about drugs. Frank is has become a household name among the young people due to the many adventure stories that came from the theme such as Pablo the drugs mule dog to a tour of the brain warehouse.
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.
Drugs instruction has progressed significantly since Nancy Reagan, and in the UK, the cast of Grange Hill asked adolescents to "Simply Say No" to drugs, a movement which numerous specialists now considers was counterproductive.
Like the Frank campaign, most European ads now focus on giving unbiased information so that young people can make up their own minds. There are still images of prison cells and hurt parents being presented in countries that have strong penalties for drugs possession. One late battle in Singapore told youthful clubbers: "You play, you pay."
In the United States of America, the federal government has spent millions of dollars on a long-running campaign, Above the Influence, that sells positive possibilities to using substances by making use of a combination of funny and cautionary stories. One ad shows a group of "stoners" sitting on a sofa and emphasizes talking to young people in the language of their generation. 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.
An early online advertisement told people that cocaine made you feel on of the world.
Hitting the middle road with an ad to give the right message always proved to be a challenge. Matt Powell was the creative director of digital agency Profero, the company that came up with the cocaine ad; he now thinks he miscalculated the time an average user spends on browsing the internet. It is difficult for some to view the ad till the last point where the dangers of drug use were listed. However, the goal of the ad was to be upfront with young people about the effects of drugs so that Frank could establish some accountability.
A 67% of the youth say they would ask Frank for advice related to drugs according to the Home Office. The Frank helpline received 225,892 calls and the website received 3,341,777 visits between 2011 and 2012. These figures provide proof that the Frank approach bears results.
But, we don't have any proofs that people have quit drug consumption because of Frank, just as we don't have such evidence in cases of other media campaigns against drugs.
During the decade that the Frank campaign was introduced, drug abuse figures in the UK have reduced by 9%; however, much of the decline has been attributed to a reduction in the use of cannabis as the more youth shun smoking tobacco.
FRANK is a national drug education program that was established at the Home Office of the British Government and the Department of Health in 2003. It's main aim is to inform young people about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, so as to bring down the rate of consumption of both legal and illegal drugs. It has had several media campaigns on the Internet and the radio.
Available services at FRANK for those who seek help about drugs include: