SRC Doesn’t Sugarcoat Kids’ Don’t Inhale PSAs

The dangers of sniffing household products to get high are the subject of Sawyer Riley Compton’s new work for the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

The Atlanta shop’s PSA print and broadcast campaign, targeting kids 9-12, breaks this week.

Two 30-second television spots, created in conjunction with MTV Commercials and animator Todd Mueller’s Psyops in New York, use rock music, abstract ink drawings and computer animation to capture the jittery anguish of brain cells being “toasted.” The tagline: “Be nice to your brain. One day you might need it.”

The spots will air for the rest of the year on network TV, MTV and other age-appropriate outlets.

“A message on inhalants cannot be sugar-coated,” said Bea Bartolotta, deputy director of creative development at the Partnership for a Drug-Free America in New York. “Inhalants take seconds to be absorbed into a kid’s brain. We want kids to get that point just as quickly.”

SRC’s creative staff, bound by client guidelines preventing theliteral depiction of drug abuse,hit upon using abstract figures.

The broadcast work grew out two print ads—”Brain” and “Nervous System”—created by Toronto illustrator Paul Dallas.

“The print tested really well,” said SRC creative director Bart Cleveland. “The Partnership folks came back and said, ‘Can you convert the print to television?’ “

Verbal messages, e.g., “Huffing household products to get high may not kill you. Just a few nerves. You know, the ones that control things like speech and breathing … ” are incorporated in ads that will appear in Teen, Teen People and YM.

Two years ago, the client originally assigned SRC a campaign encouraging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of sniffing household products.