Project Plan: Getting Creative with Drug Education

28 Feb

It’s been said that the U.S. and U.K. are “two countries separated by the same language” and I’m excited to discover how that idea translates into the field of advertising. To aide in determining the similarities and differences I needed to find a message or product in the U.K. that also exists in the U.S. I decided to focus my efforts on the U.K. drug education campaign  FRANK and the U.S. drug education campaign Above the Influence. The two campaigns are based around the same message and target the same audience, teenagers. However, they each approach the problem of drug awareness and prevention in different ways.

Why I chose Drug Education

Although I do feel that drug education is extremely important in developing our youth, the campaigns interested me because of the unique and difficult problem they were asked to solve creatively. Teens are rebellious and daring by nature. They are constantly trying to create a sense of identity for themselves, and because of this they are willing to experiment with potentially risky behavior. In some ways this behavior is  part of growing up. From a creative standpoint the real problem lies in the fact that you are trying to sell a message to teens that goes against the values that they have aligned with themselves.How do you tell a teen that they don’t need to experiment with drugs and alcohol to be rebellious and daring?

Through research, my goal is to find out how the planners and creatives behind FRANK and Above the Influence attempted to answer this question, and if the solutions that they created have been successful. I also plan to understand how the cultural differences between teens in the U.K. and U.S. affected the messaging of the advertising campaigns.

One of the most fascinating things for me about studying and working in advertising is the opportunity to understand an audience, and then take what was learned about the audience and craft a message tailored to them. The unique situation involving the audiences of FRANK and Above the Influence will allow me to further explore my interest in this segment of advertising.


FRANK is a national drug education campaign created by the British government in 2003. Its goal is to provide accurate information on drugs and alcohol through drug education and targeted information. The campaign lives up to its name in that it is very frank. The highly interactive website is filled with, for the most part, unbiased information on the most well-known drugs’ affects, risks and judicial consequences. The site also encourages people to share their first-hand stories and experience with drugs, and offers a number of ways to contact help for you, a friend or loved one. You can also follow the lives of Simon (as he discovers the affects both good and bad of cannabis) and Pablo (the drug mule dog, who just wants to find out what the big deal is with Cocaine) online and through print, radio and TV ads.

Above the Influence

The Above the Influence campaign is sponsored by the U.S. government and aims to help teens stand up to negative pressures, or influences. It differs from FRANK because it is highly focused on the short-term and long-term risks of drug use and puts a large emphasis on sobriety. The campaign’s website also features first-hand accounts of the trials and tribulations of drug use. The website and TV spots both stress the outcomes of abusing drugs and alcohol, compared to the effects of drugs and alcohol that the FRANK campaign focuses on. Its current campaign is the Unwasted Weekend which offers teens a new weekend challenge each week to take part in instead of partying with drugs and alcohol.

3 Responses to “Project Plan: Getting Creative with Drug Education”


  1. London Calling « Jack Gazdik - April 9, 2012

    […] the possibilities are so open. My London experience is whatever I make it. I get to choose my own area of expertise in a facet of the industry I am most passionate about. I can also use this experience to network […]

  2. Getting Creative with Drug Education: US Overview & Moving Forward « Jack Gazdik - April 17, 2012

    […] week I presented the US portion of my research project comparing and contrasting the U.S. drug education program Above the Influence and the U.K. drug […]

  3. Next Stop London: What I’ve Learned So Far « Jack Gazdik - April 30, 2012

    […] of expertise project I was excited about how open the assignment was. I decided to focus on the planning and creative behind the U.S. drug education campaign Above the Influence and the U.K. campaign Frank because I […]

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