Merkley Breaks Antidrug Spots

The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy today breaks eight new ads, despite the absence of a new drug czar.

The work, created by Merkley Newman Harty in New York, includes five TV and radio spots, and three print ads. It’s the third phase of a $20-million branding campaign, titled “What’s Your Anti-Drug?”, which targets 11- to 13-year-olds.

Merkley, working with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, again uses animation to create the teen messages, which are similar to the work done in previous phases of the campaigns.

One spot, called “My Future,” focuses on a teen who doesn’t want drugs to ruin her future. Another, “Drawing,” depicts a clever cartoon character who draws his way out of trouble when pursued by people offering drugs.

“This work goes a little deeper,” said Beatrice Bartolotta, the Partnership’s deputy director of creative development. “It’s a nice rounding out of the campaign.”

The success of ONDCP’s campaign, now in its third year, has prompted others to consider copying it. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard, D-Calif., introduced a bill last week to create a national media campaign for underage drinking based on ONDCP’s $1 billion, five-year effort.

Meanwhile, the search for a new drug czar continues. The candidates who have been interviewed for the job include Maricopa County, Ariz., Attorney Rick Romley; James McDonough, the Florida drug control policy director; and Brent Coles, mayor of Boise, Idaho.