Campbell Ewald and Allison Janney Bring Back the Egg That Was Your Brain on Drugs

By Patrick Coffee 

Remember the last time you got totally fried, maaaan?

We don’t recall too many ads from our youth, but it’s hard not to forget Nancy Reagan and Gary Coleman reminding us to Just Say No* or that inescapable egg that was exactly like a perfectly healthy brain exposed to crack or angel dust or LSD or whatever the hot drug of the moment happened to be.

The organization once known as The Partnership for a Drug-Free America is still around 30 years later, this time with the more specific “Kids” designation at the end of its name.


Today, the organization and its AOR Campbell Ewald released an updated version of that famous spot, tweaked to better address a world that doesn’t quite see the drug scourge in the same light as it did back in 1985. It’s pretty simple: the point of the first ad was that there shouldn’t be any questions—but now there are far too many of them.

We will answer those questions in order:

  • Prescription drugs can definitely be as bad as street drugs, if not worse.
  • Weed is legal if you live in Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Alaska or D.C. … or if you have a really friendly doctor in most other states.
  • Drinking is almost certainly worse than smoking weed if you do enough of it to ask that question.
  • Heroin is so addictive because opiates (real and fake) are things that should never be consumed by humans outside of strictly controlled medical environments.
  • “Molly” does not always make you feel happy. We had some friends one time …

Speaking to the New York Times for a story published this weekend, CCO Scott Seymour of BFG Communications (which worked on the print ads) said, “‘Any questions’ was the end. Now it’s the beginning. The landscape of drugs has really gotten a lot more complex, so we took this idea of having a succession of questions delivered by kids.”

Campbell Ewald CCO Jo Shoesmith added, “Given that it was the 30th anniversary, we thought it was a perfect time to build off the imagery and equity of the fried egg spot. It was a perfect opportunity to reflect the new strategy and changing parenting styles.”

The tagline isn’t as compelling as it used to be, but that’s the whole point: Even those who make a living trying to stop young people from doing drugs admit that the answers are no longer so simple.

But they never really were, were they?



Agency: Campbell Ewald
Chief Creative Officer: Jo Shoesmith
Art Director: Tom Cerroni
Copywriter: Joe Godard
Account Executive: Kelsea Wilhelm
Producer: Mary Ellen Krawczyk
Production Coordinator: Martha Carter
Audio Engineer: John D’Agostini
CEO: Kevin Wertz
Business Management: Brenda Gorman,Teri Kachler, Kelly Maines
Production Company: Independent Media Inc.
Executive Producer: Susanne Preissler
Director: Janusz Kaminski
Editor: Hank Corwin, Federico Brusilovsky
Executive Producer: Gary Ward
Flame Artist: Glenn Teel
Music:  Barking Owl
Executive Producer/Creative Director: Kelly Bayett

Creative Credits for “FRIED EGG 2016” Print and Banner Ads:
Agency: BFG Communications
Chief Creative Officer: Scott Seymour
Creative Director: Michael Rovner
Sr. Art Director: Philip Foster

*We would link to some articles about the many, many scientific studies disproving the effectiveness of this approach, but we don’t have the time or the inclination.