|Jerks- A Media Campaign|
he National Household Survey conducts annual samplings of Americans aged 18-25 to ask about "use of drugs during the past year." Prevalence of "speed" use ranged between 2.0% and 6.5% between 1990 and 1995. The trend is upward; probably 5% or more of young Americans used in 1996. Put another way, it seems that about 150,000 young people are initiated into methamphetamine use each year.
This is bad news. In addition to all sorts of other nasty consequences, we now know that more speed use leads directly to more HIV infection. It's time for some creative thinking on how to slow it down.
Let's imagine that drug abuse prevention is entirely in the hands of advertising agencies, rather than doctors, schools, and Government bureaus. Let's assume that Congress has voted a billion dollars to hire one big ad agency to blunt the "speed epidemic." Now, visualize the agency's pitch to the Drug Czar:
These imaginings, to me, suggest why ad agencies might succeed where others have failed: they know how to seduce the viewer, and they drum home a simple message. The key question is, if that simple message is for people to think "jerk" when they think "speed", will lots fewer of them try the stuff? If the answer is yes, then it is an easy matter to prove that a billion dollars is an investment that will repay itself handsomely.(printer friendly version)