Spike Advertising's TV spots for the Vermont Children's Trust Foundation are designed to boost awareness of the organization and raise funds for its prevention programs.
"We're trying to get the word out about who we are and what we do," said Sue Kamp, executive director at VCTF in South Burlington, Vt., a nonprofit group that promotes the well-being of Vermont youth.
One spot shows teen boys sitting on a flight of stairs. Local actor Rusty DeWees walks into the shot and says, "Somewhere down the line before he turns 21, one of these seven boys is going to wind up in jail or somehow be intertwined in Vermont's Correction system. The cause of his troubles with the law are the usual pitfalls: drugs, alcohol, abuse. ... By preventing the cause of the problem, you can prevent the problem."
In the other ad, DeWees stands before a group of young women and says, "They look like the girl next door, don't they? The kind of girl that babysits and gets good grades. You know, the kind of girl that shoots heroin and turns tricks, winds up alone, dead someplace before her 18th birthday."
"We wanted to point out that bad things can happen for any number of reasons," said Ken Millman, president of the Burlington, Vt., shop. "We're kidding ourselves if we think we can predetermine who those kids are. VCTF doesn't want to fix them after the fact—they want to prevent the problem in the first place."
The spots will air at the end of May on local Vermont channels. Print ads are already running in local newspapers. The campaign uses the line, "Kids are the cause," and was crafted on a pro-bono basis.