Rosenshine Advises House on Boosting ONDCP Ads

Allen Rosenshine, chairman and CEO of BBDO, told lawmakers last week that the government’s troubled anti-drug media campaign needs two industry advisory groups to streamline the creative-approval process and evaluate the effectiveness of the work.

Rosenshine said the American Association of Advertising Agencies has offered to recommend experts to serve on the panels. He made his remarks at a House subcommittee hearing that examined why the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy’s anti-drug media campaign is no longer effective. A recent study found that the effort has raised parents’ awareness, but has not changed teen behavior.

Rosenshine made his recommendations on behalf of the Partnership for a Drug-Free Amer ica, which disagrees with drug czar John Walters on how to fix the campaign [Adweek, May 20].

Walters wants more control over the creative process, including the flexibility to buy creative instead of using ads produced pro bono by agencies. He touted recent work linking drugs with terror as an example of effective ads produced outside the pro bono process. But Rosenshine noted that the work, done by ONDCP lead shop Ogilvy & Mather in New York, has not yet been tested for effectiveness.

When asked what he thought of those ads, Rosenshine said, “You do not attack your consumer.”

4A’s president O. Burtch Drake sent Walters a letter on June 11 warning that the pro bono process would unravel if ONDCP contracted directly with one shop for creative. “No agency will want to give its work away when one of its competitors is getting paid,” he wrote.

Nor is Congress likely to approve such an idea. Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Drugs, said in a June 18 letter to Sen. Byron Dorgan, D-N.D., “Add ing one more contractor to buy more creative services would only further complicate the campaign. While we may need to fix aspects of the media campaign that do not work, paying for more creative development is not the answer.”